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Book ^ F( g> 



Efie 3Elural Science Series 

Edited by L. H. Bailey 

The Soil. King. 

The Spraying of Plants. Lodeman. 

Milk AND ITS Proddcts. Wing. Enlarged and Sevised. 

The Fertility of the Land. Boberts. 

The Principles of Fruit-growing. Bailey. 20th 

Edition, Revised. 
Bush-fruits. Card. Revised. 
Fertilizers. Voorhees. Revised. 
The Principles of Agriculture. Bailey. Revised. 
Irrigation and Drainage. King. 
The Farmstead. Roberts. 
Rural Wealth and Welfare. Fairchild. 
The Principles of Vegetable-gardening. Bailey. 
Farm Poultry. Watson. Enlarged and Revised. 
The Feeding of Animals. Jordan. (Now Rural 

Text-Book Series. ) 
The Farmer's Business Handbook. Roberts. 
The Diseases of Animals. Mayo. 
The Horse. Roberts. 
How TO Choose a Farm. Hunt. 
Forage Crops. Voorhees. 

Bacteria in Relation to Country Life. Lipman. 
The Nursery-book. Bailey. 
Plant-breeding. Bailey and Gilbert. Revised. 
The Forcing-book. Bailey. 

The Pruning-book. Bailey. (Now Rural Manual Series.) 
Fruit-growing in Arid Regions. Paddock and Whipple. 
Rural Hygiene. Ogden. 
Dry-farming. Widtsoe. 
Law for the American Farmer. Green. 
Farm Boys and Girls. McKeever. 
The Training and Breaking of Horses. Harper. 
Sheep-farming in North America. Craig. 
Cooperation in Agriculture. Powell. 
The Farm Woodlot. Cheyney and Wentling. 
Household Insects. Herrick. 
Citrus Fruits. Coit. 
Principles of Rural Credits. Morman. 
Beekeeping. Phillips. 

Subtropical Vegetable-gardening. Rolfs. 
Turf for Golf Courses. Piper and Oakley. 
The Potato. Gilbert. 
Strawberry-growing. Fletcher. 


r BY 




All rights reisrved 




bt the macmillan company. 

Set up and electrotyped. Published March, 191 7. 

MAR 22 1917 

Norfnaati '^ttae 

J. 8. Cuehing Co. — Berwick & Smith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



The strawberry is distinctively North American. 
Most modern varieties sprang from species found only in 
the Americas. Progress in the domestication of this fruit 
was coincident with the introduction into Europe of 
American types. The acreage under commercial culture 
in the United States and Canada has grown from 1400 
acres in 1854 to 150,000 acres in 1910. This is more 
than the combined acreage of all other countries. 

This book aims to reflect modern commercial practice 
in North America. A history of the rise of strawberry- 
growing, together with a discussion of the origin, botany 
and breeding of the North American type, are presented 
in a companion volume, ''The Strawberry in North 
America." All of the more than 1800 varieties that have 
originated in North America are described in Technical 
Bulletin 11, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, 
Blacksburg, Virginia : " North American Varieties of the 

I have freely incorporated the experience of others, as 
is noted in the text. I am under especial obligation to 
Matthew Crawford, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and to the 
Editor of the Rural Science Series. A number of the 
illustrations are borrowed, for which acknowledgment is 
made in the List of Illustrations. 

State College, Pa., 
January 29, 1917. 




Locations, Sites and Soils 


Locations .... 


Strawberry districts 


Type of market . 


Type of farming and labor 


Sites .... 


Air drainage 


Water drainage 




Advantages of flat land 


Protection from wind . 




The "ideal" strawberry soil 


Soil preferences in different regions 


Atlantic coastal plain 


Florida and the Gulf states . 


Pacific states .... 


Qualities of good straivberry land . 


Texture and water-holding power 









Preparation of the land .... 









Bedding and ridging 


Season of planting ...... 


Factors that determine the time . 


Planting seasons in different regions 


In the North 


In the Atlantic Coastal plain and Florida 


In the Mississippi Valley 


On the Pacific coast . . . . 


The plants 


Where to buy 


Number required to the acre 


Preparing plants for setting 


Heeling in 




The spacing of the plants .... 


Distance between plants in the row 


Distance between rows 


Specific examples of spacing 


In Canada and northern United States 


In the South .... 


On the Pacific coast . . 


Marking out the land ..... 


With a line or wire .... 


With the plow 


Peg markers 


Sled markers 


Wheel markers 


Essentials to success in planting . 


Methods of protecting the roots . 


Firm setting 


Depth of planting .... 


Methods of setting 


With the hand 


With the spade 


With the dibber 


Planting machines and transplanters . 


Care after planting 


Shading and watering .... 


Cutting the blossoms .... 






Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing . . 44-65 

Rotation practice in different regions . . . 45-49 

In the North 45-47 

In the South 47-49 

Companion crops ...... 49-51 

Vegetables as fillers between strawberries . 49-51 
Strawberries as fillers between fruit-trees . 51 

Plant-food requirements ..... 51-55 

Plant-food in the berries .... 51-52 
Plant-food withdrawn from the soil . . 52 

Why strawberries require a rich soil . . 53 

Results of fertilizer experiments . . . 53-55 

Green-manuring ....... 55 

Farm manures ....... 55-58 

Advantages and disadvantages . . . 55-56 

Rate of application ..... 56-57 

Use of lime and ashes ..... 57-58 

Applying fertilizers ...... 58-60 

When to apply 58-59 

Methods of distributing .... 59-60 

Current fertilizer practice ..... 61-65 

Canada and northern United States . . 61-62 

Middle Atlantic states 62-63 

South Atlantic states 63 

Southern states 63-64 

Mississippi Valley and westward . . . 64-65 


Tillage and Irrigation . 
Why tillage is essential . 

Root system of the strawberry 


Tillage tools .... 

For horse tillage . 

For hand tillage . 



Tillage methods 


How often to till 


How deep to till 


How late in the autumn to till 


Early spring tillage .... 


Tillage during blossoming and picking season 

I 75-76 

Irrigation in arid regions .... 


Grade necessary 


Methods of applying water . 


How often to irrigate .... 


Irrigation in humid regions .... 


Results of experiments .... 


Special difficulties .... 


Furrow system 


Overhead pipe or sprinkling system 



Training the Plant 


Methods of training defined .... 


Hill or stool 




Spaced row ...... 


Matted row 


Broadcast or matted bed 


Factors that determine the method of training 








Method of culture . . . 


Specific examples of the several methods 


Hill training 


Matted rows ..... 


Spaced rows and hedge-rows 


Bedding the runners ..... 


When to begin 




Distance between bedded plants . 




Removing surplus runners ..... 

Controlling the width of the matted row 
Spacing plants in the matted row 
Runner control in hills, hedge-rows and 
spaced rows ...... 

Summer pruning ...... 







Mulching 108-125 

Advantages and disadvantages of the winter mulch 


Prevents heaving .... 


Prevents freezing 


Retards the ripening season 


Increases danger from frost 


Mulch materials . 




Straw .... 


Corn fodder . 


Growing a mulch crop . 


Mulches of wild herbage 


Miscellaneous mulching materials 


Growing a mulch in the strawberry field 


Oats or barley between the rows . 


Crab-grass in the South 


Use of the winter mulch 


When to apply- 


How much to use . 


When to remove . 


The fruiting mulch 


When it is needed 


Materials used 



Pollination 126-137 

Tyyes of blossoms 126-128 

Terms used in describing sex 





Staminate and pistillate varieties compared . . 128-132 
The theory of division of labor in the blossom 129 

Relative productiveness .... 129-130 
Advantages and disadvantages of pistillates 131 

Pistillate varieties gradually disappearing . 131-132 

Selecting and distributing the pollinizer . . . 132-136 
Desirable points in a pollinizer . . . 133 

The "mating" of varieties .... 133-134 

Immediate influence of pollen . . . 134-135 

Distributing the pollinizer .... 135-136 

Weather conditions and pollination . . . 137 




The box ... . 




Shape and ventilation . 

. 139-141 

Cubic contents 


Dimensions . 


Prices .... 




Types — gift and return 




Prices . 


Making up boxes and crates . 


Special packages . 




California chests . 


Trays .... 






Picking and Packing .... 

Length of picking season 

As affected by location and climate 
As affected by the age of the plants 





Picking problems ...... 156-160 

How ripe berries should be 


How often to pick 


Time of day to pick 


Care necessary 


Picking receptacles 


Boxes, cups and stands 




Selection and management of pickers 


Relative value of different types o 

f pickers 


Maintaining the grade . 


Handling pickers in the field 


Accounts with pickers . 


Cash day-book records and checks 


Punch tickets 






Packing sheds 


"Topping" .... 


Field grading 


Shed grading 


Grades .... 


Grading trays and scoops 






Piece packing 


Cooling .... 



^Iaeketing 182-209 

The personal, or retail, market 


Opportunities for development 


Selling through retail dealers 


House-to-house selling 


Means of transportation to the wholesale market 




Ventilator cars 




Refrigerator cars . . . . . 

Water transportation .... 
Pre-cooling and cold storage .... 

Pre-eooling methods — air blast and cold room 

Cold storage ..... 

The strawberry season ..... 

Influence of weather on the season 

The procession of shipping districts in the 
market ...... 

Normal shipping seasons of the different dis- 
tricts ...... 

Methods of selling in the wholesale market 

By consignment ..... 

By f. o. b. sales ..... 
Cooperative marketing ..... 

Types of selling associations 

Forwarding associations 
Pooling associations 

Essentials to success .... 

Sales methods ..... 

Federation of local shipping associations 
By-products ...... 

Canning ...... 

Preserves, sirups and other by-products 






Cost op Prodtjction, Yields, Profits . 

Factors that determine the cost of production . 

Type of farming 

Acreage ...... 

Other factors ..... 
Estimates of cost of production, yields and prices 

Average yields in different states 

Canada and northern United States 

Southern states ..... 

Florida and the Gulf states . 

Pacific states ..... 

Results under market garden culture . 








Propagation and Renewal 226-248 

Layers or runners ...... 226-232 

Nursery methods 226-227 

Home-grown plants 227-228 

Value of runners from the fruiting bed . 228 

Ratio of runner increase in different varieties 228-229 

Digging, packing and shipping . . . 229-232 

Other methods of propagation .... 233-236 

Potted plants 233-234 

Cuttings or summer bedding . . . 234-235 

Seeds 235-236 

Division 236 

Age of the plantation 236-238 

Current practice in the North . . . 237 

In the South and West .... 237-238 

Factors that determine the life of a plantation . 238-242 

The location and its climate . . . 239 

Method of culture 239-240 

Method of training ..... 240 

Variety 240-241 

Comparative cost of renewing and resetting . 241-242 

Renewal methods ....... 242-248 

Mowing and burning 242-244 

Reducing the number of plants . . . 244—246 

Renewing hills and hedge-rows . . . 246-247 

Carrying plants over the summer in the South 247-248 


Everbearing Varieties, Forcing and Other 

Special Methods of Culture . . 249-267 

Culture of the everbearers ..... 249-253 

Removing the blossoms .... 249-250 

Harvesting and marketing .... 250-251 

Commercial value ..... 252-253 

Culture of the Alpine 254—255 

Fall crops and double croppers .... 255-256 



Forcing in greenhouse benches 


. 256-258 

Forcing in pots 

. 258-263 

Care in the cold frame . 

. 259-260 

Bringing the plants into heat 

. 260-261 


. 261-263 

Forcing varieties .... 


Growing fancy and exhibition berries 

. 263-265 

Strawberry barrels .... 

. 265-267 


Insects, Diseases and Frost , 

Spraying equipment and materials 

Preparation of spray materials 
Plant diseases and their control 

Leaf-spot .... 

Powdery mildew . 

Root-rot .... 
Injurious insects and their control 

Weevil .... 

Leaf-roller .... 

White grub .... 

Root-louse .... 

Crown borer 

Lesser insect pests 

Miscellaneous pests 
Frost protection .... 

Conditions which favor frost injury 

Mulches .... 

Screens .... 

Smudging and heating . 








Varieties ....... 

Does it pay to test novelties ? 

Points to consider in selecting varieties . 
Adaptation to chmate and soil 
I*urpose for which the fruit is grown 





Preferences of the market 

How many varieties to grow 
Noteworthy varieties . . . . . 

Descriptions of seventeen leading sorts 
Less prominent varieties . . . . 

Descriptions of forty-six kinds 





Statistics on Acreage, Peoduction and Value 307-317 

In the United States 307-309 

Decrease in acreage 


Value of the crop in 1909 


Leading states and counties 


In Canada 


Local centers of production . 


Atlantic states 


Mississippi Valley 


Pacific states .... 







Plate I. A hillside strawberry field in Virginia. Knock- 
ing down the ridge with a drag, Norfolk, Virginia. 
(From Bulletin 6, Virginia Truck Experiment Station.) 20 

Plate II. A home-made revolving spacer, used at Nor- 
folk, Virginia. (From Bulletin 6, Virginia Truck Ex- 
periment Station.) Six-row iron wheel marker. 
(From R. M. Kellogg Co., Three Rivers, Michigan.) 33 '/" 

Plate III. Tin hooded setting basket. (From R. M. 
Kellogg Co., Three Rivers, Michigan.) Irish potatoes 
and strawberries as companion crops, Norfolk, Vir- 
ginia. Hand planting, without the aid of a tool. 
(From Bulletin 6, Virginia Truck Experiment Station.) 
Strawberries as a filler crop between apples. Hood / 

River, Oregon 37 

Plate IV. Plants smothered by crab-grass, Norfolk, Vir- 
ginia. Wheel hoe, Los Angeles, Cahfornia . . 70 '^ 

Plate V. Irrigation before setting, at San Diego, Cali- 
fornia. Contour irrigation. Hood River, Oregon. 
(From "Better Fruit," Hood River, Oregon.) Double 
rows on irrigation ridge, Watsonville, Cahfornia . 77 ' 

Plate VI. Nursery piped for overhead irrigation. 
(From the Skinner Irrigation Co., Troy, Ohio.) Irri- 
gation ridges, Pajaro Valley, Cahfornia. Irrigation , 
flumes, Tropico, Cahfornia . . . . . 81 ^ 

Plate VIL A hill plant, showing its numerous crowns. 

(Copyright by R. M. Kellogg Co., Three Rivers, / 

Michigan.) 92 

XX List of Illustrations 


Plate VIII. Parting a heavy winter mulch from over 
the rows, Michigan. Hill plants of Magoon, Vashon, 
Washington 115 

Plate IX. Circular dropper used to cut runners from 
hill plants. Foot-power stapling machine. (From 
R, M. Kellogg Co., Three Rivers, Michigan.) Fruit- 
ing mulch between rows of hill plants on drainage 
ridges, Florida. (From Bureau of Plant Industry, / 

U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.) 123 / 

Plate X. Staminate and pistillate blossoms. Unin- 

jured and frost-killed blossoms 128 v/ 

Plate XI. Successive stages in the opening of a Brandy- 
wine blossom, and the setting of fruit . . . 132v 

Plate XII. Nubbins, usually the result of imperfect fer- 
tilization, sometimes of insect injury .... 137 

Plate XIII. Twenty-four quart Leshe crate of ungraded 
Arkansas Aromas. Twenty-four pint Hallock crate 
of well-graded Louisiana Klondikes. Thirty-two quart 
American ventilated crate of well-graded Missionary 
from Florida. (All from Farmers' Bulletin 664, U. S. 
Dept. of Agriculture.) 146 

Plate XIV. Pony refrigerator used in Florida. (From 
Bureau of Plant Industry, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.) 
Chest of drawers or shdes, used in CaUfornia. Re- 
turn trays used in southern Cahfornia . . . 150 

Plate XV. Overhead carrier, used in the Los Angeles dis- 
trict, CaUfornia 163 

Plate XVI. Packing shed at Norfolk, Virginia. Pack- 
ing shed at Vashon, Washington. Harvesting scene, 
Norfolk, Virginia ....... 173 

Plate XVII. Box of three-tier Clarks. (W. J. Davis, N. 
Yakima, Washington.) Method of stripping crates in 
ventilator cars. Fancy and No. 1 grades of Florida 
berries. (From Bulletin 664, U. S. Dept. of Agricul- 
ture.) 177 

Plate XVIII. Shipping shed of a cooperative associa- 
tion near Los Angeles, California. Small schooner 
bringing strawberries to the Norfolk, Virginia, dock . 191 

List of Illustrations 



Plate XIX. Shacks in large strawberry fields, southern 
California, occupied by the Japanese laborers who rent 
the land. Coldframe used as a cutting bed in sum- 
mer bedding 228 

Plate XX. Box of 500 plants crated for shipping by 

freight or express. Plants bunched for maiUng . . 230 

Plate XXI. Cheap greenhouse made of hot-bed sash, 
used for forcing strawberries at Hackensack, New 
Jersey. Potted plants plunged in cinders in a cold- 
frame 257 

Plate XXII. Strong potted runner from a 3-inch pot 
that was plunged in the field. Forcing crown from 
a 6-inch pot. Unrooted runner of Pan-American 
variety, bearing several half -ripe berries. (From L. R. 
Johnson, Cape Girardeau, Missouri.) A good forced 
plant of Glen Mary, showing wire berry support . 260 

Plate XXIII. A four-row spray outfit in which the power 
is derived from sprocket wheels. (From R. M. Kellogg 
Co., Three Rivers, Michigan.) 269 

Plate XXIV. Brandywine, a standard sort under irriga- 
tion in southern California. Wilson, the dominant 
variety from 1860 until 1885 292 


1. Location of the most important strawberry-producing 


2. A strong runner plant 

3. Single hedge-row .... 

4. Triple hedge-row .... 

5. Spaced row. (Figs. 3, 4 and 5 from the R. M. Kellogg 

Co., Three Rivers, Michigan.) 

6. Hallock box 

7. American standard ventilated box 

8. Octagonal or "LesUe" box . 

9. Heavy, iron-bound return crate . 

10. Form for making Leslie or Hallock crates. (From 

R. M. Kellogg Co., Three Rivers, Michigan.) . 

11. The most common type of box carrier or "handy" 

12. Carrier without legs and with stout handle 




xxii List of Illustrations 


13. Common type of punch ticket 169 

14. The Heller taUy card 170 

15. The Wallace Berry Picking Record, daily ticket . .171 

16. The Wallace Berry Picking Record, weekly ticket . 173 

17. Leaf-spot, or rust ....... 271 

18. Work of the weevil 272 

19. Adult weevil. (Figs. 18, 19 and 20 after F. H. Chit- 

tenden, Bureau of Entomology, U. S. Dept. of Agri- 
culture.) 273 

20. White grub 274 

21. Root-louse. (After E. D. Sanderson, Delaware Ex- 

periment Station.) ....... 275 

22. Injury from slugs 277 





Commercial strawberry-growing in North America 
may be said to have begun with the introduction of the 
Wilson, in 1854. At that time there were less than 1500 
acres under commercial culture, and the annual produc- 
tion was about 40,000 bushels. Now there are over 
150,000 acres, and the output is more than 8,000,000 
bushels annually. Within these sixty years the market 
wagon and the sailing sloop have been displaced by the 
refrigerator express. House to house peddling has been 
succeeded by the cooperative selling organization. The 
strawberry season has been extended from five weeks to 
twelve months. The number of varieties has increased 
from 80 to 1800. It is a remarkable history. The rise 
of no other fruit has been as rapid, and none gives 
more promise for the future. 


The man who has determined to enter the business of 
growing strawberries for market has several matters to 
consider before he will be in a position to select a suitable 
location for the enterprise. Among these are strawberry 
districts, the type of market, transportation facilities, the 
type of farming and labor. 

2 Strawberry-Growing 

Strawberry districts. 

So far as natural advantages are concerned, no section 
has a monopoly of the oft-repeated claim of being "The 
home of the strawberry." Except in the arid sections 
where water for irrigation is not available, and in parts 
of the North Central states and adjacent provinces, 


Fig. 1. — Location of the most important strawberry producing 
districts, as reported by the Census of 1910. Each dot represents 100 
acres. A few small shipping districts in Nova Scotia and British 
Columbia are not shown. 

which are extremely cold, the strawberry can be grown 
successfully nearly everywhere, if the market demand 
justified it. Commercial strawberry-growing is not re- 
stricted to sharply defined belts or zones, as is the case 
with the apple, pear, peach and other fruits. Although 
the great body of commercial planting is now concen- 
trated in a comparatively few districts, these are quite 
impartially distributed among the various states and 

Locations, Sites and Soils 3 

provinces and embrace a great variety of conditions of 
altitude, climate and soil (Fig. 1). This leads to the 
presumption that practically every state and province 
has, at various points within its boundary, large areas 
of land that are as suitable for commercial strawberry- 
growing as any in the districts that now ship hundreds 
of car loads. The most important shipping centers are 
listed in the appendix. 

Type of market. 

It is necessary for the prospective grower to decide 
at the outset whether he will produce berries for the 
general market, or for the personal market. If the 
former, the location may be many miles from the market 
that he expects to supply. Distance from large cities 
usually means lower land values, more stable labor and 
a lower cost of production. On the other hand, it means 
higher transportation charges, greater opportunity for 
vexatious delays and loss in getting the fruit to market, 
and a less intimate touch with market conditions. The 
fruit is grown in considerable quantity, perhaps twenty- 
five acres or more, without special or intensive culture. 
It is marketed in car-lots, often through cooperative 
shipping associations. The grower deals with the whole- 
sale merchant, not with the retailer or consumer. 

When growing strawberries for the local or personal 
market, the location will be quite near the town or city 
to be supplied, usually less than forty miles; the closer 
the better, up to the limit of reasonable land values. A 
comparatively small acreage is grown, perhaps not more 
than two to five acres. Intensive culture is practiced 
and the fruit is marketed in comparatively small quan- 
tities, always less than car-lots. The grower deals with 

4 Strawberry-Growing 

the retail merchant or the consumer. These two types 
of strawberry-growing are distinct in their aims and 
necessarily are quite different in their methods. 

Since about 1870 most of the commercial strawberry- 
growing of North America has been wholesale. In 1914 
the car-lot movement in the United States, as reported 
by the Office of Markets and Rural Organization, was 
14,553 cars. Probably this was over two-thirds of the 
total quantity marketed that year. In early years, the 
nearer the field was to the market the better the chance 
for profit. Rapid transportation, refrigeration, the tele- 
graph and telephone have changed this situation. To- 
day, strawberry-growing is as likely to be profitable a 
thousand miles from a market as within five miles 
of it. 

In choosing a location for wholesale strawberry-growing, 
it is desirable to seek a community where the industry is 
already established, so as to secure the advantage of 
numbers. It requires a considerable number of growers 
to secure recognition from the transportation companies 
in the way of satisfactory schedules and adequate shipping 
facilities. One shipper can make little headway in this 
respect. He cannot compete, when the market is distant, 
if obliged to ship in less than car-lots. In some districts, 
the berries are sold f.o.b, to buyers at the shipping 
point. This is a satisfactory method, but buyers will 
not come to districts where there are only a few growers. 
Furthermore, there is a stimulus to the average man in 
being located near other men who are growing the same 
fruit. From every point of view, a considerable number 
of growers and a large quantity of fruit concentrated at 
one shipping point are an advantage in wholesale straw- 

Locations, Sites and Soils 5 

Transportation facilities. 

Whether a wholesale or personal market is sought it 
is advantageous to be located where there are competitive 
means of transportation, such as two railroads, or a steam- 
boat line and a railroad. Competition is not only the 
life of trade but also the chief incentive of freight rate 
reductions. A well equipped steamboat is superior to a 
refrigerator car. There is less jar, fewer odors and cinders, 
and the fruit arrives fresher, even though the trip by boat 
is longer than the trip by railroad. The advantage of a 
location which has a good road to the shipping point is 
obvious. The strawberry is very sensitive to jolts; 
spring wagons and hard surface roads are needed to put 
it at the shipping point in good condition. The closer 
the field is to the shipping point, the better. 

Type of farming and labor. 

Since this crop occupies the land but a comparatively 
short period, it readily lends itself to association with 
other lines of husbandry. In most of the large shipping 
centers the strawberry is grown as a main crop, but 
other crops are grown to some extent, supplementary 
or subsidiary to it. In the trucking sections of the 
Atlantic coast, as at Norfolk, and in market-gardens 
near large cities, the strawberry is but one spoke of a 
wheel of succession cropping, and occupies the land but 
one year or less. In other places, as on Vashon Island, 
Washington, and in California, the plants occupy the 
land from three to five years, sometimes longer. In a 
few places, as at Bowling Green, Kentucky, it is grown 
as part of a general farm rotation. In the Hood River 
and Yakima Valleys, Washington, the strawberry is 
grown merely as a filler between rows of young fruit- 

6 Strawberry-Growing 

trees. If other crops are to be grown with strawberries, 
these influence the choice of a location. 

The strawberry requires more labor than most crops, 
especially at the harvest. There have been many disas- 
trous failures because of a shortage of pickers. Many 
of the large plantations secure pickers from a distance 
and encamp them on the farm, but a local supply is a 
distinct advantage. This point should be considered in 
selecting a location. 


Having fixed on a geographical location for the enter- 
prise, the selection of a site, — which is the location 
with reference to local topography, — next demands at- 
tention. The nature of the soil usually is of more im- 
portance than the lay of the land, and may be the deter- 
mining factor ; yet there are several points about the site 
that should be weighed independent of the nature of 
its soil. These have to do mainly with air drainage, 
water drainage, earliness, wind protection and irri- 

Air drainage. 

Except when grown in connection with trucking or 
market-gardening, gently sloping land is preferred for 
strawberries, provided the soil conditions are favorable. 
The strawberry plant hugs the ground ; it would suffer 
severely from frosts were it not for the fortunate circum- 
stance that the blossoms open in succession over a con- 
siderable period. The plant, also, shows remarkable 
recuperative power, especially in the South, by sending 
out a new crop of blossoms immediately after the first 
crop has been destroyed by frost. Nevertheless, the loss 

Locations, Sites and Soils 7 

from frost often is serious. A sloping site, which pro- 
vides cold air drainage to lower land, may give sufficient 
immunity from light frosts to justify the somewhat 
greater inconvenience of cultivation, as compared with 
level land. The slope need not be steep ; a fall of two or 
three feet in one hundred may be sufficient to secure good 
air drainage. The steeper the land, the greater the in- 
convenience of cultivation and danger of soil erosion. An 
elevation considerably above the surrounding country is 
preferable, provided the slope is not steep or the soil 
poor. In the Chattanooga district, the growers find it 
more profitable to go high enough on the ridge to escape 
frost than to plant on the more fertile lower slopes. In 
Colorado, the high mesa or bench lands are preferred. 
Smudging may afford considerable protection if the site 
is frosty, but it is more economical to plant on an elevated 

Water drainage. 

A sloping site usually provides good water drainage, 
but not always. Poor drainage is one of the greatest 
difficulties of strawberry-growing in the Gulf states. 
Ridging and bedding may be resorted to, but sloping 
land is preferable, if available. In the North, especially 
in Canada and northern New England, it is desirable to 
select a site with enough slope to carry off melting snow, 
so that ice ||will not cover the field ; frozen slush will 
injure strawberry plants if it covers them many days. 


If a slope is to be planted, its exposure, or aspect with 
reference to the points of the compass, may have some 
bearing upon the success of the enterprise. A southern 

8 Strawberry-Growing 

exposure — one that faces the south — is earlier and 
drier than a northern exposure. It is, also, more subject 
to alternate freezing and thawing during the winter and 
early spring, which causes "honey-combed" soil, heaving, 
and breaks the roots. Wlien earliness is essential, as it 
is in most southern districts that grow strawberries for 
northern markets, these disadvantages of the southern 
and southeastern exposures often are more than offset 
by the few days that are gained in the season of ripening. 
A gain in earliness of five days may be worth more than 
the larger yield that might have been secured on a north- 
ern or northwestern slope, or on bottom land. If the 
rows are run east and west and ridged slightly towards 
the south, earliness will be still more marked. Some- 
times as much as a week is gained in this way. A south- 
ern or southeastern exposure dries off quickly in the 
morning and after a rain, so that picking can begin. 

Unless early ripening is the chief consideration, a 
northern or northwestern exposure is preferable, since 
it is cooler and more moist. Late varieties should be 
planted on northern slopes or bottom land ; usually 
they blossom late and so are likely to escape frost; and 
they ripen when upland soils often are beginning to get 
dry. In Canada and northern United States it is desir- 
able to plant where the snow clings throughout the winter, 
and late into the spring. 

Advantages of fiat land. 

However marked the advantages of sloping sites for 
inland locations, there are more commercial strawberry 
fields on level land than on slopes. The largest area of 
commercial planting on the continent is on the coastal 
plain of the Atlantic seaboard, extending from southern 

Locations, Sites and Soils 9 

New Jersey to South Carolina. The strawberry fields in 
this region are on flat land, and from twenty to seventy- 
five feet above sea level. Immunity from frost is not 
derived from air drainage but from proximity to the 
ocean. Earliness is secured by warm soils and a tem- 
pered climate. The advantages provided by slopes in 
inland locations here are assured without the attending 
disadvantages. Level land can be worked to better 
advantage than sloping land ; it is more economical to 
till, there is less leaching and practically no surface 
erosion. Unless it is frosty, level land with a warm 
soil is preferable to a hillside, even though the slope has 
richer soil; fertility can be supplied more easily than 
the other essentials of a good strawberry soil. 

When the topography does not provide marked air 
drainage and when frosts — not freezes — do little dam- 
age, bottom land may be suitable; usually it is richer 
and more moist than upland soil. In Florida, flatwoods 
land is preferred for strawberries after it has been drained. 
On the Delaware-Maryland peninsula, drained swamps 
are used for late varieties, as the Gandy, 

Protection from icind. 

In some sections, notably in the North Central states 
and adjacent provinces, it is desirable to protect the 
plantation from cold or drying winds. This region is 
subject to sudden and great fluctuations of temperature, 
severe winds and intense cold. One of the greatest 
difiiculties is the drying west or southwest wind during 
the blossoming season. The wind and dust dry out the 
blossoms so that they do not set fruit well. In winter, 
drying winds are more likely to injure the plants than 
intense cold. 

10 Strawberry-Growing 

When the country is rolling, partial protection is se- 
cured by planting on the protected slopes; when level, 
shelter belts of trees or bushes are necessary. Mulching 
is fairly effective, temporarily, but does not give permanent 
and continuous results like a shelter belt or windbreak. 
On the northern prairies, the windbreak is preferably of 
native trees, as the green ash, hack-berry, white elm and 
box elder; but a number of introduced species are used 
to advantage, especially the white willow, golden willow 
and several evergreens. The windbreak should extend 
along the south and west sides of the plantation. Some 
plant one or more rows on the north side, also, so that 
the snow will more readily stay within the area and 
mulch the plants. Rows of raspberries, currants and 
other bush-fruits may be planted eight to thirty feet 
apart, with rows of strawberries between. The bush- 
fruits cause snow to drift in and stay late, and also pro- 
tect the strawberries from drying winds in summer. 
Lath screens have been used, but are not practicable 
outside of home gardens. 


"The ideal strawberry soil" has been described at 
various times by various persons. Compiling these de- 
scriptions, it is found to vary from almost pure sand to 
heavy clay or muck. This leads to the conclusion that 
there is no ideal soil for the strawberry, but that some 
soils are more desirable than others in certain localities 
and for certain purposes. Strawberries are grown com- 
mercially on almost every type of soil, provided it is well 
drained and at least fairly fertile, whether the fertility 
is natural or supplied. 

Locations, Sites and Soils 11 

Soil preferences in different regions. 

The typical strawberry soil of the Atlantic coastal 
plain, from New Jersey to South Carolina, is a light 
sandy loam. The soil is not rich, but it is warm and 
quickly responds to under-drainage and enrichment with 
green-manures and fertilizers. The water-table is quite 
close to the surface; at Selbyville, Delaware, during 
May or June, standing water will be found at a 
depth of three or four feet. This is favorable to the 
crop in soils of such open texture. The opposite ex- 
treme — a heavy clay or muck — is preferred in this 
region for late berries. Some of the most profitable 
fields on the Delaware-Maryland peninsula are gum 
swamps near the headwaters of streams, that have 
been cleared and under-drained. These rich, moist 
lands are commonly called "Gandy land" because of 
their special value for this variety. There is a large 
area of clay loam in southern New Jersey, notably in 
Cumberland county, that has made this section famous 
for late berries. 

In the early years of Florida strawberry-growing, pine 
land was considered too sandy for strawberries, but in 
recent years it has been used quite successfully. A good 
quality of flatwoods is more retentive of moisture than 
other Florida soils. It is a dark, sandy loam, one and 
one half to two feet deep, with a clay subsoil. Hammock 
land has a more mucky soil, which does not resist drought 
as well. A warm, dark-colored, sandy loam is preferred 
to heavier and richer soil, even though it is poor in fer- 
tility; plant-food can be supplied easily, but warmth 
and earliness cannot, except to a slight extent by drain- 
age. Many Florida strawberries are grown on an almost 
sterile sand which is used simply as a medium in which 

12 Strawberry-Growing 

to anchor the roots of the plant while the grower nourishes 
it with commercial fertilizers. 

In the Gulf states, dark pine land is considered well 
adapted for strawberries, if sufficiently rolling to carry 
off surface water but not steep enough to wash. The 
retentive, marly clay table lands of central Mississippi 
have been found well adapted for this crop. In the 
Chattanooga district, shaly or gravelly ridges are pre- 
ferred. Throughout the Southern states very rich soil 
is avoided; it produces sappy, over-grown plants, and 
the berries do not carry well. In the Pacific states, the 
heavier loams and light clays are preferred to sandy 
soils, because they are more fertile, more retentive of 
moisture and produce larger crops. This is especially 
true where irrigation is practiced; sandy soils require 
much water. 

A survey of soil preferences in different parts of the 
continent discloses the fact that more strawberries are 
grown on a sandy loam underlaid with clay than on 
any other soil type. The demand for early berries has 
had much to do with this choice. The most popular 
strawberry soil in the northern and central states is 
a gravelly loam with clay subsoil. Heavy loams, silts 
and light clays are preferred for late varieties in the 
East and are used very generally on the Pacific coast 
for all varieties. 


The prevailing practice has been indicated in the 
preceding paragraphs. Some of the qualities that 
make a soil suitable for strawberries now will be con- 

Locations, Sites and Soils 13 

Texture and water-holding power. 

One of the most successful growers of his time, J. M. 
Smith of Green Bay, Wisconsin, produced crops of 12,000 
to 15,000 quarts an acre upon an almost pure sand. 
However, he applied forty two-horse loads of manure 
each year. The lighter the soil, the more deficient it 
is in fertility and water-holding power and the greater 
the need of farm manures or green-manures. Light soils 
give earlier and better flavored berries than heavy soils 
but the yield is not as large and the expense for fertilizers 
is heavier. Before early berries from the South reached 
northern markets, nearly everybody in the North planted 
on light soils, so as to secure early berries. Since about 
1870, the drift in the North has been toward heavier 
soils, as there is no longer any advantage in growing early 
berries except for near markets. Most northern growers 
now find their surest profit in growing the heavy yielding 
mid-season or late varieties ; hence they select the stronger 
loams, which produce a large crop without heavy fertiliz- 
ing. In 1893 and 1894 the New Jersey Experiment 
Station canvassed that state in order to determine the 
comparative yield of strawberries upon sandy and clay 
soils. In 1893 the average yield to the acre on clay 
loams, 290 growers reporting, was 2909 quarts ; on sandy 
soils, 240 growers reporting, 2508 quarts. In 1894, 306 
growers reporting, the clays yielded 3223 quarts, while 
the sandy soils averaged 2359 quarts, 387 growers report- 
ing ; a gain of 864 quarts for the heavier soils. 

Sandy or gravelly loams are preferred because they do 
not bake, are easily worked and water moves through 
them quickly. The strawberry crop requires not only 
a large quantity of water but also that it be supplied 
quickly. The fruit must be developed from blossom 

14 Strawberry-Growing 

to maturity within a period of about four weeks. This 
means that the texture of the soil should be such that 
water will pass through it quickly. The two extremes 
— a dry, leachy sand or gravel and a stiff, baking clay, 
are equally objectionable. 

A sandy soil is valuable only when it has a clay sub- 
soil within two or three feet of the surface ; then it will 
hold the fertility that is added to it. The more sand or 
gravel there is in the surface soil the more urgent the 
necessity for a tight subsoil ; the more clay or silt in the 
surface soil, the greater the need of an open subsoil. 
The character of the subsoil is fully as important as that 
of the surface soil. The worst soil for strawberries is 
waxy or gumbo land which packs and cracks whenever 
it gets dry. The roots of the strawberry are easily torn 
by this cracking, since the plant is shallow rooted. 

The presence of gravel or chert in the soil is an ad- 
vantage. Gravel acts as a surface mulch, conserving 
moisture and preventing crusting. Strawberries often 
grow excellently on land that is so stony that scarcely 
any soil can be seen ; it is cool and moist beneath the 
gravel. Much of the strawberry land in Oswego County, 
New York, is a stony loam ; in some fields the stones are 
so numerous that there appears hardly room for the 
plants to grow between them. Many of the best fields 
in the Ozark region of Missouri and Arkansas are very 
cherty. On the other hand, large stones interfere with 
cultivation and the training of runners, and hinder the 

Muck swamps sometimes may be used to advantage. 
The land should be drained so that the water-table 
stands not less than two feet from the surface. It is 
best to cultivate it in corn, cabbages, celery, potatoes 

Locations, Sites and Soils 15 

or other tilled crops for two or three years before setting 
strawberries. On muck soils, strawberries make a rank 
growth and may be unproductive unless the food supply 
is balanced with applications of the mineral fertilizers. 
If near small water courses, muck land may be frosty; 
if near large bodies of water, it may be quite free from 
frost. Muck should be used only for late varieties. Peat 
soils are unsuitable ; they dry out quickly, are difficult to 
work and are deficient in mineral plant-food. 


Until about 1850, it was contended that the strawberry 
requires poor soil, otherwise it runs to vines and produces 
little fruit. This assumption was based on the fact 
that varieties of the Scarlet, then most commonly grown, 
did run to vines when planted on heavily manured and 
deeply trenched land, as was the custom at that time. 
The modern strawberry responds to heavy fertilizing 
and is unprofitable upon poor soils. The most notable 
exception to this general rule is found in the South, where 
rich soils, especially those abundantly supplied with 
nitrogen, should be avoided, since they produce a rank 
growth of vines and the berries ripen unevenly and do 
not carry well. The stock advice, " Land that will make 
thirty to forty bushels of corn to the acre is good straw- 
berry land," is sound. In Missouri, it is considered that 
land that will produce 200 bushels of potatoes an acre 
should average 200 crates of strawberries without fertiliz- 
ing. The strawberry plant feeds near the surface; it 
does not forage deeply into the subsoil. Moreover, it 
matures its crop in a short period, especially in the North ; 
hence the need for an abundant supply of plant-food in 
the surface soil. 

16 Strawberry-Growing 

It makes little difference whether the plant-food is in 
the soil at the outset or is put there as fertilizer. If it 
was supplied by nature, the cost of production will be 
reduced that much. Even though the soil is poor, if it 
has the other necessary qualities, especially good drain- 
age, fertility may be added from fertilizer sacks. A large 
part of the strawberry industry is based on this proposi- 

Since colonial days, land that has been cleared recently 
has been preferred for strawberries. A large proportion 
of the strawberry fields of the South are planted on " new 
ground." The superior crop-producing power of new 
ground, as compared with old land, is due partly to its 
larger supply of available plant-food, but mostly to its 
excellent physical condition. It is full of leaf mold and 
humus, which hold moisture well. In some localities, 
virgin land is planted to strawberries immediately after 
being cleared ; in others, it is cropped in corn one or two 
years to subdue the sprouts and rank growth of forest 
herbage. In Florida and parts of the Gulf states, straw- 
berries on new ground tend to run to vines, and it is best 
to crop the land two or three years before using it for 


Good drainage is the most important quality of straw- 
berry land. Fertility can be added, texture and water- 
holding power improved, but unless the soil is well drained 
naturally or is susceptible of under-drainage it will not 
produce profitable crops. The character of the subsoil, 
whether porous or impervious, and its depth from the 
surface, is one of the first points to observe. A sloping 
site usually secures good drainage, but some heavy up- 

Locations, Sites and Soils 17 

land soils are so retentive or have such impervious sub- 
soils that they require under-drainage. The water-table 
should not be closer to the surface than two feet. Poorly 
drained "crawfish" land may do fairly well the first 
year or two without under-drainage but good crops are 
not certain. A few varieties thrive in heavy, moist 
land but none thrives in wet land. Open ditches may be 
used to advantage in draining swamps. Blind ditches 
are useful for draining wet places in a field otherwise well 
drained. The most practical method, in most cases, is 
to under-drain with tile. Much of the strawberry land 
in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi is flat; 
water stands on it after heavy rains, often to a depth of 
one inch or more. Under-drainage will help these soils, 
but it is necessary, in addition, to throw the land into 
beds or ridges as described in Chapter II. 



It is not well to set strawberries in freshly turned sod 
land, or land that has been lying out for several years 
and has grown up more or less with grass. Recently 
plowed land usually has air spaces between the pieces of 
turf; these make it difficult to secure a good stand of 
plants. It is also infested with white grub. If sod land 
is used it should be plowed several months before plant- 
ing. Land infested with nut-grass, bermuda-grass, John- 
son or witch-grass, should be avoided ; if obliged to fight 
these weeds the cost of cultivation will be doubled. 


In localities where strawberries normally are planted in 
the spring, fall plowing is desirable except on very light 
soils. It is especially advantageous when turning under 
a sod. Fall plowing makes the land warm, so that it 
can be fitted and planted early in the spring. It kills 
white grubs, and stores rainfall. If the soil is rather 
heavy it may be cross-plowed in the spring, but the disk 
or cutaway harrow usually will put it in condition. Spring 
plowing for strawberries should be shallow ; the soil dries 
out as deeply as it is stirred. When planting is to be 
done in the summer or fall in the North, do not plow at 
all unless this is necessary to cover weeds ; a firm plant- 


Planting 19 

bed is very essential at that time of the year. Sandy 
soils, unless covered with herbage, should be plowed in 
early spring. The essential point is to plow early enough 
so that the soil will be firm and the herbage decayed 
before the plants are set ; in some localities this means 
fall plowing ; in others, winter or spring plowing. 

The depth to plow depends mainly on the nature of 
the soil, incidentally on the method of culture. Before 
1860, strawberries were commonly grown in land that 
had been trenched about two feet deep. Trenching has 
not been necessary, even in the home garden, since the 
introduction of the Wilson. Subsoiling is a more modern 
substitute for trenching. Light soils, particularly if the 
subsoil is open, are not benefited by subsoiling and may 
be injured. When strawberries are planted on clay land 
that has a tight subsoil close to the surface, there may 
be some benefit from subsoiling. In most cases, deep 
plowing in the fall or early winter is preferable to subsoil- 
ing. On many soils under-drainage secures permanently 
the beneficial results that subsoiling secures temporarily. 

Fitting the land. 

There is special need of compactness ; if strawberries 
are set upon a loose or lumpy soil the stand will be poor. 
If possible, fit the land a week or ten days before planting. 
The final harrowing should be shallow in order that the 
soil may not dry out deeply. If the soil is heavy, the 
surface lumps should be reduced with a pulverizer, 
planker or drag, but not with the roller. Sandy soils 
should be rolled until quite compact. If the soil is not 
firm at planting time, subsequent rains will compact it, 
leaving the crowns of the plants high above the surface. 
A plank drag is preferable to a harrow for the last working 

20 Strawberry-Growing 

since it fills the horse tracks better and leaves the land 
smoother for marking out. 

Bedding and ridging. 

Level culture is preferable except when earliness is 
desired or surface drainage is poor ; the roots keep cooler 
and the supply of soil moisture is more equable. Ridg- 
ing to secure earliness has long been practiced, especially 
in the South. The ridge is made by throwing two or 
more furrows together (Plate I) . These are knocked down 
to the desired height and shape with a drag; each one 
accommodates one row of plants. Usually the ridge is 
three to six inches high on the back or north side, and 
grades down to a level on the front or south side, thus 
presenting the maximum surface to the sun. A gain in 
earliness of four to eight days may be expected, as com- 
pared with level culture. Ridging or bedding to secure 
surface drainage as well as earliness is used most com- 
monly in the South, and occasionally in the North. In 
Florida and the Gulf states, ridging is necessary except on 
the lighter sands ; heavy midsummer rains often cover 
the flat lands of this region with water to a depth of one 
or two inches. The width of the bed or ridge is deter- 
mined mainly by the water absorbing power of the soil. 
One-row ridges and two-row beds are used mostly, but 
three- to ten-row beds or "lands" are used sometimes on 
the lighter soils. The lower and wider the beds the better, 
provided they will carry off the excess water. High, 
narrow beds dry out quickly. Wide beds hold mulching 
material better. The height of the bed or ridge varies 
from two to eight inches. In Florida, the ridges are 
commonly three to four feet wide and four to five inches 

Plate I. — Above, a hillside strawberry field in Virginia ; below, knock- 
ing down the ridge with a drag, Norfolk, Virginia. 

Planting 21 


Strawberries are planted commercially every month of 
the year at some point on the continent. The heaviest 
planting is in the spring; but February is springtime in 
Arkansas, and May in Ontario. The limits for commer- 
cial planting in each locality are rather narrow. 

Factors that determine the time of planting. 

The factors determining the time of planting are tem- 
perature, moisture and the nature of the soil. Plants 
cannot be set in frozen ground nor will they thrive if the 
ground freezes deeply soon after they are set. Wherever 
the ground freezes to a depth of six inches or more, late 
fall and winter planting is impracticable. If fall-set 
plants are mulched, they may escape injury, but nothing 
is gained unless they make enough growth during the fall 
and winter to produce at least a light crop the following 
spring. This restricts practically all of Canada and the 
northern half of the United States east of the Rocky 
Mountains to spring planting, save for the very small 
planting in late summer in market gardens. South of the 
latitude of Washington, D.C., strawberries can be planted 
any time of the year when it is not very hot or very dry. 

Newly-set plants must have plenty of water. In irri- 
gated regions, plants can be set any month that the 
ground is open, since the water supply is under control. 
In humid regions, the best time to plant depends largely 
on the occurrence of rains. 

Strawberries can be set in the fall in sandy soils with 
safety when they would fail on clay soils, because sands 
do not heave. The plants suffer less from cut-worms in 
fall or winter planting, the stand is surer and it is easier 

22 Strawberry-Growing 

to get good nursery stock. In the rush of spring work, 
planting is likely to be delayed ; many fields that should 
be set in April are not set until May. 

Planting seasons in different regions. 

Fully ninety per cent of the strawberry planting in 
Canada and the United States north of the latitude of 
Washington, D.C., is in early spring, as soon as the 
ground can be worked. In the North, each locality has 
a planting season of four or five weeks which experience 
has shown to be dependable; earlier or later planting is 
attended with risk. Proceeding southward, the possible 
planting season is lengthened, as well as advanced on the 
calendar. Practically all of the planting north of Okla- 
homa, Arkansas, Tennessee and Maryland is in the spring. 

The shorter the season of growth, the more uncertain 
are the results of fall planting. The land must be heavily 
manured and fertilized so that the plants may make a 
maximum growth before they are checked by cold. Rich, 
mellow, market-garden loams are most suitable for fall 
planting. Potted plants or strong layers are commonly 
set in late August or September. The chief advantage 
of fall planting in the North is that land can be used 
from which a crop of early vegetables has been removed, 
and it is released in time to plant another vegetable crop 
the following year; hence this method appeals most 
strongly to market-gardeners. Incidental advantages 
are that there is no trouble with white grub, no blossoms 
to cut off and at least two-thirds of the trouble in fighting 
weeds is avoided. On the other hand, the plants are not 
easily obtained and are expensive ; the weather is more 
likely to be unfavorable so that special care is required 
in planting; there is more danger of winter injury; the 

Planting 23 

crop is not as large. Fall planting is too expensive and 
uncertain to be generally useful in the North. It is a 
special practice, used successfully only in a few market- 
gardens and home gardens. 

From the Delaware-Maryland peninsula southward 
along the coast to South Carolina, if the ground is pre- 
pared in the fall, plants can be set any time during the 
winter when it is not freezing. The plants become estab- 
lished in the soil so that they start off quickly in the spring. 
It is a distinct advantage to have such a long period during 
which planting can be done successfully. 

In the coast region of North Carolina, most of the 
planting is done in October and November. Florida 
growers can plant any month of the year, but most of 
the commercial fields are set from August to October. 
September and October are the safest months, but if the 
weather is favorable, August planting gives a better crop. 
In south Florida, plants are set from June to November. 
Strong plants set in November will begin to bear in 
January and keep on fruiting more or less until May; 
sometimes November plantings yield as heavily as those 
set earlier. 

Most of the commercial fields in the Gulf states are 
planted from September to March. August and Sep- 
tember plantings are liable to suffer from drought except 
along the coast. In the southern part of Alabama, Georgia, 
Mississippi and Louisiana, plants set in November and 
December make considerable growth during the winter 
and bear one-half to two-thirds of a crop in the spring, 
but not as heavily as August and September plantings. 
In the central and northern parts of these states, plants 
make but little winter growth and must be set in Aug- 
ust or September in order to get a crop the next spring. 

24 Strawberry-Growing 

Much of the planting in this region is during February 
and March and these plants do not bear a full crop until 
a year later. Along the Gulf coast of Texas strawberries 
are set from October to December. These yield a good 
crop the next spring and are then plowed under. 

Arkansas is on the dividing line between spring plant- 
ing and fall planting. At Judsonia, fall planting is satis- 
factory on the lighter soils but the crop harvested the 
following spring is insignificant; the chief advantage is 
in the earlier start. Most of the planting in this district 
is in early spring; that is, in February. In the Ozark 
region the most favored season is from the middle to 
the last of March; this is two weeks earlier than in 
northern Missouri. Practically all of the planting in 
Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and other parts of the Mis- 
sissippi Valley is in early spring, from February in south- 
eastern Tennessee to early May in northern Wisconsin. 

The planting season in California is remarkably flexible, 
since irrigation gives the grower independence of rain-fall 
and the climate is very equable throughout the year. 
Near Los Angeles, plants commonly are set from August 
to November, so as to be well rooted before the season of 
cool nights. These bear a full crop the following April 
and fruit more or less continuously until October. In the 
Watsonville and Florin districts, near San Francisco, 
most of the planting is in October. These plants begin 
to bear the following March and fruit continuously until 
October or December, according to the season. A crop 
of strawberries may be produced in California at any 
time of the year by manipulating three factors — the 
time of planting, irrigation and runner cutting. Fall 
planting, from August to October, is preferred in the coast 
region of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, 

Planting 25 

which has an equable and humid climate. This is the 
only section north of the latitude of Washington, D.C., 
in which fall planting is uniformly successful. Spring 
planting is preferred in the interior districts of this region 
and in the mountain states of Colorada, Idaho, Utah, 
Montana, Nevada and Arizona, 

To summarize the prevailing practice, spring planting 
is preferred in all of Canada except the coast region of 
British Columbia, and in eastern and central United 
States as far south as Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and 
Oklahoma. In these states and those farther south, and 
on the Pacific coast, most of the planting is done in the 
fall or winter months. 


The methods of propagating strawberries and the kind 
of plants to set are described on pages 226 to 232. If the 
plants are to be secured from a nurseryman, the order 
should be placed early; no stock suffers more from late 
delivery. Do not submit to substitution of varieties at 
the nursery. In the North, early orders are shipped 
during cool weather and are more likely to arrive in good 
condition than late orders. 

Local-grown plants are somewhat preferable, because 
they can be dug a short time before planting, and because 
they are acclimated. This is of little practical importance 
except in extremes of climate. Manitoba growers, for ex- 
ample, find plants from Minnesota or Wisconsin preferable 
to plants from southern Ontario, which has a much milder 
climate. It may pay to secure plants of early varieties 
from the North and of late varieties from the South ; the 
climatic change accentuates the season of ripening. 

26 Strawherry-Growing 

If less than 500 plants are ordered, they may come by 
parcel post; if more, by express. Strawberry plants 
weigh twenty-five to thirty pounds a thousand, packed. 
Freight should be used only when the distance is short, 
and during cool weather. An advantage of express is 
that the packages are carried in open cars, whereas mail 
is carried in air-tight pouches. 

To ascertain how many plants are required for an acre, 
multiply the number of feet between plants in the row 
by the number of feet between rows ; this gives the num- 
ber of square feet occupied by one plant. Then divide 
the number of square feet in an acre, which is 43,560, by 
this sum. Some growers order one-tenth more plants 
than are needed to set the field ; the remainder are heeled 
in so that the plants do not touch. Three weeks later all 
plants in the field that have not made a good start are 
pulled up and new plants set. 

Preparing plants for setting. 

Plants from a nursery should be unpacked imme- 
diately in a cool place. After dipping the roots in water 
place the moss in which they are packed upon the floor 
and set the bunches on it, close together. If the plants 
are needed for setting within four or five days, bank the 
moss tightly around the sides and keep them watered. 
If not, break open the bunches and heel in the plants. 
Good plants have fresh green leaves and yellow or orange- 
colored roots; plants with black or dark brown roots 
should not be used. Plants packed in wet sphagnum 
should carry a week or more. Plants that have been 
packed for some time and have become warm may be 
bleached. They should be heeled in, partially shaded, 
and watered until they have assumed a healthy color. 

Planting 27 

Never set wilted plants ; put them in water or heel them 
in until they recover. If the plants were frozen between 
the nursery and the farm, open the bundle, wet them 
thoroughly and put them in a dark, cool cellar, packed in 
moss or sand. They will not be injured if thawed slowly. 


Unless the plants are home-grown, it is nearly always 
desirable to heel them in for a few days at least before 
they are set permanently in the field. It is essential to 
have an open, well-drained soil, preferably on a slight 
slope so that there will be good surface drainage. A 
shallow trench is opened with a spade deep enough to 
hold the roots without cramping them, and with the land 
side slanting a little. The bundles are opened and the 
plants spread thinly along the trench, crowns even with 
the surface. The plants are not trimmed unless they are 
to stay there a month or more. The roots of this first 
row of plants are covered with soil removed in the next 
course of the spade, and so on with successive rows. The 
soil is tramped very firmly over the roots. A trench 
about fifteen feet long will accommodate 1000 plants. 
Stake each variety, water often and keep the bed shaded 
with sacks, lath screens or straw when the sun is hot. 
Should there be freezing weather, cover it lightly with 
straw. Plants may be kept heeled in several weeks, if 
necessary, while waiting to put the land in good condition 
for planting, or for a cool cloudy day. They throw out 
new roots and the leaves become darker green. How- 
ever, the sooner strav/berry plants are set in their per- 
manent quarters the better. Ordinarily plants are heeled 
in for only two or three weeks. Occasionally they are 
kept in the bed much longer, as in a method called "the 


Strawberry-Gro wing 

new strawberry culture" which has been advocated by a 
few northern growers. Dormant plants are trimmed and 
are heeled in from one-half inch to one inch apart, accord- 
ing to how long they are to stay there. By June these 

Fig. 2, 

A strong runner plant. The lines indicate how it should be 
trimmed for setting. 

plants are very large, and are then transplanted to the 
field. By fall the plants will have thrown out many 
strong runners, while the expense of tillage and training 
has been much reduced. This method is useful only 
when the ground is not ready for spring planting or when 
the plants are weakened by long travel. 

Planting 29 


The roots are shortened one-third to three-fourths (Fig. 
2) . Some growers prefer roots four or five inches long ; 
others shorten them to one or two inches. If planting in a 
mild climate and on a sandy soil, the roots may be short- 
ened much more than would be advantageous in a rigorous 
climate and on heavy soil. Ordinarily, the roots are 
shortened to about three inches. If much longer than 
this, it is hard to set the plants, as the roots wad in the 
hole. Some growers think that if the old roots are cut 
back heavily the new roots are more likely to grow down- 
ward, so that the plant will be more deeply rooted. This 
contention does not appear to be well founded. The 
roots are clipped off with pruning shears or knife while 
tied in bundles. Ordinarily, all dead or diseased leaves 
and runner strings are trimmed off before the plants are 
set, and but two or three leaves left. Retain old leaves in- 
stead of young, as they are less likely to burn. In Florida 
and the Gulf states, some growers retain practically all 
the leaves, because they protect the crown from the sun. 


To secure the fullest use of the land and economy in 
tillage, the plants should be spaced uniformly. There 
are two distinct problems in spacing plants — the best 
distance between plants in the row, and the best distance 
between rows. 

Distance between plants in the row. 

This depends on the plant-making habit of the variety, 
method of training, location and nature of the soil. If 
the runners are not to be restricted, the habit of the 

30 Strawberry-Growing 

variety should be known before marking out the field. 
Some sorts, as the Warfield, Dunlap and Crescent, normally 
make a large number of runners ; these varieties may be 
set thirty to thirty-six inches apart in the row, on aver- 
age soils. Varieties of fair plant-making ability, as 
the Wilson and Bubach, may be set twenty to thirty 
inches apart in the row. Some sorts throw out only a 
few short-jointed runners ; these must be set fifteen to 
twenty inches apart. Glen Mary is an example. Varie- 
ties which are practically runnerless, as the Pan-Ameri- 
can, should be set even closer. When the runners 
either are to be kept off entirely or restricted, the 
distance between plants in the row is correspondingly 
shorter. In southern California, Brandy wine plants 
are set six to ten inches apart. On the north Pacific 
coast, Magoon are set in hills three to four feet apart. 
These are the two extremes; the average interval in 
hill training is about one foot. In hedge-row or spaced 
row training, the most suitable interval between mother 
plants can be determined quite definitely, as there should 
be from six to fifteen inches between plants after the 
runners are set. A heavy, rich soil makes strawberries 
" run to vine." In the territory bordering Puget Sound, 
a single plant may have a spread of over three feet ; on 
the Atlantic coast the largest plant may not cover half 
that space. 

Distance between rows. 

The distance between plants in the rows is determined 
mainly by environmental factors. The distance between 
rows is determined, to a large extent, by cultural con- 
venience, although location, soil and variety have some 
influence. The method of tillage, whether with hand or 

Planting 31 

horse, is the chief factor. If plants of strong-growing 
varieties are set at least thirty inches apart in the row, 
they may be worked both ways several times with a horse 
cultivator before they have thrown out many runners; 
this saves much hand hoeing. Most growers, however, 
use the horse cultivator but one way, and set the plants 
closer together in the row. The interval should be such 
that it can be covered with one round of the cultivator 
conveniently. Where eight or nine inches of mulching 
material are nfeeded, the rows should be six feet apart in 
order to accommodate the large amount of straw that is 
pushed into the middles when the plants are uncovered in 
the spring. 

Whether the plants are set alone or with a companion 
crop may affect the distance between rows. In the Nor- 
folk district, strawberries are set between rows of potatoes, 
cabbages and other truck crops. This leaves the rows 
five to six feet apart after the vegetables are removed, 
which is one reason why wide matted row training is pre- 
ferred in that district. 


The great body of commercial planting in Canada and 
northern United States is in the matted row ; the plants 
are set fifteen to thirty inches apart in the row and the 
rows thirty to forty inches apart. Under hill training in 
market-gardens, strawberries are grown in slightly raised 
beds five feet wide. The plants are set one foot apart 
each way, making four rows to the bed. A space of two 
feet is left between the beds for a path. This method 
was practiced near Boston over a century ago. When 
planting in the fall, especially if potted plants are used, 

32 Strawberry-Growing 

northern growers frequently set double rows; the plants 
are ten to fifteen inches apart in the row and the twin 
rows twelve to fifteen inches apart. An interval of 
twenty-four inches is left between each pair of rows. 
The plants are kept in hills. 

In Florida and those sections of the Gulf states where 
strawberries are grown in hills, there has been a decided 
drift recently towards horse tillage, with a consequent 
widening of the space between rows. Those who prac- 
tice hand tillage set the rows eighteen to twenty-four 
inches apart, with plants eight to fifteen inches apart in 
the row. Some prefer double rows ; the plants are ten 
to fourteen inches apart in the row, and the interval 
between the sets of rows is about eighteen inches. The 
double row is more economical of mulching material and 
there is less likelihood that drifting rains will throw sand 
upon the plants. Those who use horse tillage, space 
the rows three to three and one-half feet apart, with 
plants ten to fourteen inches distant in the row, whether 
there is a single row on each drainage ridge, or several 
rows. Near Starke, strawberries are set on narrow beds 
holding two rows eighteen inches apart, with the plants 
four to six inches apart in rows. In Texas under hill 
culture, plants are set eighteen to twenty-four inches 
apart, either on single row ridges, which are eighteen 
inches apart, or on double row ridges, which are three 
feet apart. Where the narrow matted row is used, the 
distance between rows is commonly three to three and a 
half feet, with plants twelve to twenty-four inches apart 
in the row. 

The interval between plants is shorter in southern Cali- 
fornia than in any other part of the continent. Near 
Los Angeles, plants sometimes are set in double rows, six 

Plate II. Marking out the Land. — Top, a home-made revolving 
spacer, used at Norfolk, Virginia; bottom, six-row iron wheel marker. 

Planting 33 

inches apart each way, with an interval of eighteen inches 
between each pair of rows. It takes 100,000 plants to 
set an acre, as compared with 5000 required under matted 
row training in the northeastern states, and 3500 on the 
North Pacific coast. Most southern California straw- 
berries, however, are set in single rows eighteen to twenty 
inches apart, the plants six to ten inches apart in the row. 
Under hill training in the Hood River Valley, Oregon, 
the rows are spaced two and one-half to three feet apart 
and the plants twelve to fifteen inches apart in the row. 
In the Puget Sound region, Magoon is set three and one- 
half feet to four feet apart each way and kept in hills. 
The double row is used considerably in the irrigated dis- 
tricts of the northwestern states. The plants are set 
eighteen inches apart each way and kept in hills, with 
thirty inches between each pair of rows. 


It is important to have the rows straight, wholly aside 
from their appearance. The land is then uniformly 
occupied, and tillage implements can be run very close 
to the plants, thus saving much hand hoeing. 

The simplest method of marking out is with a garden 
line. This is most useful in the home garden, and when 
plants are trained in hills. Stretch it and set a row of 
plants a few inches to one side. In larger operations, a 
check line may be made of number sixteen wire, well 
annealed, with a mark or button every two feet, or what- 
ever may be the distance desired between plants. 
When laying off large fields into rows at least thirty 
inches apart, some are satisfied with the results secured 
with a light plow, or single shovel. Stakes set at the end 

34 Strawberry-Growing 

of the row and in the middle are used to guide the plow- 
man, as in laying off for corn. Unless the man and the 
mule are equally adept the rows are only approximately 
straight. This method is useful when the land is so 
stony that the dibble cannot be used to advantage, and 
on steep land, where it is necessary to follow the contour. 
The plants are set against the land-side. 

A light peg marker is used most, especially for the 
matted row. In a piece of two by three inch scantling, 
twelve to eighteen feet long, preferably of white pine or 
other light wood, set wooden or gas-pipe pegs about 
eighteen inches long. The teeth should slope backward a 
little. There should be a number of holes in which to 
put the pegs, so that the spacing can be varied. Some 
use chains, instead of pegs, but these are easily deflected 
by clods and stones. If the marker is to be pulled by a 
horse, attach ordinary shafts ; if by a man, use shorter 
and lighter shafts set closer together. An upright strip is 
nailed to each end of the head piece ; a man follows the 
marker with his hand on this guide piece, to see that the 
inside peg runs exactly on the line made by the outside 
peg on the previous round. Lay off first a straight row 
on one side of the field with a line; if this base line is 
straight, subsequent rows should be straight. Some 
mark one way with a corn or potato-planter and check 
with a very light peg marker twenty-eight feet long and 
drawn by hand. 

A sled marker is preferred for some soils, especially 
when the land is marked but one way. This may be 
made of two by six inch scantlings, rounded at the 
front end, nailed to two two by twelve inch planks, 
and provided with shafts. For small fields and mellow 
soils, the runners may be made of one inch boards two 

Planting 35 

feet long and six inches wide. This is pushed or pulled 
by hand. 

A wheel marker that covers six rows at a round is 
shown in Plate II. Those that mark the land both ways 
at a round, thus locating the exact place for setting each 
plant, are preferable. One of the most serviceable of 
these is described by F. E. Beatty : ^ "Take a wooden 
wheel sixteen inches in diameter and tack two cleats on 
the rim directly opposite each other. Every time these 
cleats come in contact with the soil they make a dent. 
If you use a sixteen inch wheel, the dents will be twenty- 
four inches apart. Set this wheel in a frame with a hinge. 
This frame is bolted to a two inch board, which should be 
seven feet long, one wheel frame bolted to each end and 
one directly in the center, marking three rows at a time 
three and one-half feet apart. The hinge is to allow the 
wheel to adjust itself to any unevenness of the ground and 
thus make a continuous mark to follow in setting. The 
best way to draw this is by means of shafts and a man 
will draw it straighter than a horse." A home-made 
revolving spacer, checking two rows at a round, is shown 
in Plate II. 

Rows should be laid off lengthways of the field to econo- 
mize time in tillage. In large fields there should be a 
road through the center, both ways, with the packing shed 
in the middle. Cross alleys every ten rods are a con- 
venience in mulching and harvesting. When earliness is 
important, the rows should run north and south unless 
the land is steep, in which case they should follow the 
contour. When wide beds are used for surface drainage, 
have an even number of rows in each bed ; if there is an 
odd row, the pickers may skip it. 

i"The strawberry," Vol. I, No. 2 (Feb., 1906), p. 28. 

36 Strawberry-Growing 


Strawberry plants are easily injured by heat and dry- 
ness. In humid regions, wait for a cool and cloudy day, 
unless the planting season is already far spent. If there 
can be no delay, planting is best done in early morning 
and late afternoon. When irrigation is available, plant- 
ing can be done at any time of the day, but it is prudent 
to avoid midday. 

There are three essentials to success ; the roots must 
be kept cool and moist, the soil pressed very firmly 
around the roots and the crown left at the right height. 

Methods of protecting the roots. 

The plants should be packed tightly in shallow boxes and 
covered with wet burlap before taken to the field. There 
they are placed, roots downward, in buckets containing a 
few inches of water. When planting a large field, a barrel 
of dampened plants, covered with wet burlap, may be placed 
at the end of each row. 

A handy tray for setters is made by putting a bail on 
a tin pan about five inches deep. Some prefer a hooded 
basket (Plate III). It is not necessary to puddle the roots 
with clay before planting; if they are kept damp and 
cool, that is sufficient protection. Atmospheric condi- 
tions and the rapidity of planting will determine the margin 
of safety. The droppers should not get more than a few 
plants ahead of the setters, unless it is raining or cloudy. 

Firm setting. 

It is hardly possible to set plants too firmly in ordinary 
soils. Loose planting is responsible for many poor stands. 
The lighter the soil, the greater the necessity for firming 

Plate 111. Details in Planting. — Top left, tin hooded setting 
basket ; top right, Irish potatoes and strawberries as companion crops, 
Norfolk, Virginia ; center, hand planting without the aid of a tool, at 
Norfolk ; bottom, strawberries as a filler crop between apples, Hood River, 

Planting 37 

it around the plant. Place one foot on each side of the 
crown after the plant is set, and very close to it. Then 
rise on the balls of the feet. A test of good setting is to 
give the plant a quick jerk by one leaf ; if the leaf breaks 
without disturbing the roots, the plant is set firmly enough. 
Sandy soils should be rolled heavily before planting, and 
perhaps after planting, also. If the crowns are too high 
rolling may injure them. 

Depth of planting. 

When planted too deep, the crown is covered with soil 
and rots. When the loose soil made by harrowing and 
marking out has settled, the crown should be even with 
or a trifle above the surface. Years ago it was considered 
essential to spread the roots out very carefully upon a 
small mound of soil in the bottom of the hole. Mound 
planting is unnecessary; it is sufficient merely to keep 
the roots from wadding. 

If the land is marked out both ways, do not set the 
plants exactly in the center of the cross mark ; during a 
heavy rain, water will run down the furrow and wash soil 
over the crowns. Set the plant in one corner, just out- 
side the cross mark, and use the same corner all the time 
so as to keep the rows straight. 


The plants are set by hand, or with the spade, dibber, 
hoe or transplanting machine. The dibber and spade 
are used most commonly. 

Hand setting. 

On loose, sandy loams, properly fitted, the hole is 
made easily with the hand, using one dropper to two set- 

38 Strawberry-Growing 

ters (Plate III). The roots should hang at a slight angle, 
so that the soil may be packed down upon them. The 
crown is placed level with the surface and the roots 
spread against the slanting side of the hole. Soil is 
pressed firmly against the roots, and loose soil left on top. 
Heavy rolling is necessary, after the field is set. Under 
favorable conditions one man can set 3000 plants a day 
without the aid of a dropper. Hand setting is practiced, 
also, when the rows have been laid off with a light turning 
plow and the soil is so gravelly that a spade or dibber 
could not be used to advantage. Plants are set on the 
land-side of the furrows, and enough soil pulled over the 
roots to keep them in place until men who follow with 
hoes can fill in the furrows and tramp. Occasionally the 
furrow is filled with a plow, but this is rarely satisfactory. 
Two men with mules can lay off rows for four setters. 
It takes one dropper to each setter, and one follower to 
fill the furrows and tramp ; thus there are fourteen men 
in a planting gang. This method is used considerably in 
Maryland, Delaware and Arkansas. 

Spade setting. 

A spade is preferred for heavy soils. The method is 
described by Matthew Crawford. "A man and a boy 
work together, one carrying the pail and the other a 
bright sharp spade. The ground being marked out, the 
spade is set squarely across the mark at right angles to 
the row and thrust down at an angle of forty-five degrees. 
It is then pushed forward until there is sufficient room back 
of it for the boy to place the plant in position. He holds 
it there until the spade is withdrawn and the earth falls 
back on the roots. As the man with the spade steps 
forward to make another hole he sets his foot over the 

Planting 39 

roots of the last plant, pressing the earth firmly against 
them. A man and boy can set 5000 plants in a day." 

The spade is pressed into the ground at a slight angle 
in order that there may be no cavity beneath the roots. 
Some growers fill the hole by thrusting the spade about 
four inches from the plant and pressing towards it. 
Others work backward, with the spade facing the setter. 
Sometimes a narrow wooden spade is preferred. It is 
made of hickory and has a wedge-shaped end four inches 
wide and six inches long, the cutting edge being protected 
with metal. 

Dihber setting. 

Florida growers use a large, round dibber called a punch. 
It is made of wood and has a steel point. A flat dibber 
is preferable, since it makes a broad opening somewhat 
like that of the spade. It can be made by the local 
blacksmith from a piece of heavy sheet iron or steel, 
sixteen inches long, four inches wide and weighing about 
two pounds. The upper end is rolled to fit the hand and 
the cutting end beveled to a sharp V. 

The plants are dropped near the marks by a boy who 
keeps not more than four plants ahead of setter. The 
setter straddles the row on his knees, thrusts the dibber 
into the ground four to six inches deep, pushes it forward 
and inserts the plant with his left hand before withdraw- 
ing the tool. Some firm the soil about the roots by thrust- 
ing the dibber into the ground four or five inches deep on 
the farther side of the plant and pulling it backward; 
others place both hands around the crown and press it 
downward; or it may be firmed with the feet. Ordi- 
narily dibber planting is somewhat faster than spade 
planting, but the hole is small, and careless workmen 

40 Strawberry-Growing 

wad the roots ; they should be trimmed shorter for dibber 
planting than for spade planting. Several types of home- 
made wooden dibbers are in use. A pole four feet long, 
sharpened to a wedge three and one-half inches wide at 
the lower and larger end, and the cutting edge lightly 
ironed, has been used somewhat on light soils. A mason's 
trowel with the point cut off is serviceable. 

One of the best planting tools for heavy or gravelly 
soils is made from a hoe. The blade is narrowed to the 
shape of an adz about four inches wide and the handle 
shortened to fifteen inches. The setter works on his 
knees. The hole is opened at a slant and the plant is 
slipped back of the blade as it is withdrawn ; enough soil 
rattles down to hold it in place. The hole then is filled 
by striking the hoe between the setter and the plant, 
and close to it, pushing forward at the same time and 
raising the handle a little. One man can set 3000 to 5000 
plants a day. An ax with a crooked handle is used occa- 
sionally on very tight soils. 

The common method of planting under irrigation is to 
run shallow furrows and irrigate in them. When the soil 
is dry enough to work, set a row of plants along the side 
of each furrow about four inches from the edge — never 
in the bottom of the furrow (Plate V). Then turn water 
into the furrows until the land is soaked. In very hot 
weather, let a small stream of water follow in the furrow 
close behind the planter. Occasionally it is more feasible 
to soak the land first and set the plants with dibber or 
spade when the soil is dry enough. 

Planting machines and transplanters. 

Several types of two-horse planting machines, such as 
are used in transplanting tobacco, tomatoes, cabbages, 

Planting 41 

sweet potatoes and celery plants, are used somewhat for 
strawberries when the acreage is large. One man drives, 
one or two others get the plants into shape for the droppers 
and another follows the machine in order to set foot on 
every plant and to reset any that were not planted well. 
A machine will set 10,000 to 20,000 plants a day. The 
grower is more independent of the weather, since the ma- 
chine waters the plants as they are set. The main dis- 
advantage is that the plants are not always set at the 
right depth. A machine may give as good results as 
hand setting and be somewhat cheaper, when a large 
acreage is to be set. 

When home-grown plants are to be set, especially in 
midsummer or early fall, a hand transplanter may be 
useful. The transplanter is placed over a strong runner 
and pushed into the soil to the brim; then it is lifted, 
taking the plant and a ball of soil with it. The plant is 
pushed into the hole with an "ejector." At least a 
hundred transplanting cups are needed so that a wheel- 
barrow load of plants may be carried at one time. Trans- 
planters are used only when the soil is moist. The 
plants suffer little check, and leaf pruning is unneces- 
sary. Transplanters are useful for summer or fall plant- 
ing in the home garden and for commercial growers who 
have a small area under intensive culture. 

Potted plants are set by inverting the pot, jarring the 
soil loose with a sharp knock and setting firmly without 
breaking the ball of roots. The cost of setting layer plants 
in the field is about fifty cents a thousand. Ordinarily a 
man will set two to three thousand ; some men set four 
to five thousand under favorable conditions. Two set- 
ters and one dropper should set five to seven thousand 
plants a day. 

42 Strawberry-Growing 


If the soil is light, the field should be rolled immediately 
after setting ; if heavy, do not roll. A heavy roller may 
injure the crowns. Whatever tillage is given should be 
shallow and not close to the plants. Shade frequently is 
provided for several days after setting, especially in 
Florida and the Gulf states, unless the weather is cloudy. 
Palmetto leaves placed almost horizontally over the 
plants furnish sufficient protection. A more common 
method is to throw a handful of short straw, pine needles 
or similar material over each plant and remove it in four 
or five days. In the North, plants set in the summer or 
early fall may need shade; lawn clippings, straw and 
brush are used. 

In regions not served by irrigation, occasionally it may 
be necessary to water plants recently set. This is best 
done in late afternoon and evening. A shallow basin 
is made about the plant to hold the water. After 
the water has soaked away the soil should be drawn 

A few plants should be heeled in at the end of the rows 
when setting a field ; these are used to fill the misses. 
When plants are scarce or expensive the first runners can 
be layered into pots and these potted plants used to fill 
the misses. Blossoms that appear soon after the plants 
are set should be removed, preferably before they open. 
The whole fruit stalk, not merely individual blossoms, is 
cut or pinched off close to the crown. If the blossoms 
are allowed to mature fruit, they exhaust the plant and 
delay the formation of runners. Except when the plants 
are grown in hills, it is desirable to have the runners start 
early. In the North, if the spring crop of blossoms is 

Planting 43 

removed, none others appear, except on everbearing 
varieties. In the South, especially in Florida and southern 
California, the plants blossom more or less continuously ; 
how long to remove the blossoms depends upon the 
strength of the plants and when the crop is desired. 


Usually, strawberries are grown in short rotations. 
Throughout the North, the plants rarely occupy the 
ground longer than fifteen months ; in many parts of the 
South, barely half a year. The nature of the other crops 
in the rotation, and the treatment given them, determine 
the fertilizer treatment of strawberries fully as much as 
the native fertility of the land and the demands of the 
strawberry crop itself. 

In early years, strawberries almost invariably were 
planted on virgin land. This is still done whenever 
practicable, especially in the South. Land which is 
planted to strawberries year after year becomes "straw- 
berry sick." Heavy annual applications of manure or 
green-manuring will prevent this, to a large extent. The 
Seth Boyden farm, of about nine acres, at Hilton, New 
Jersey, has been in strawberries almost continuously for 
over fifty years, yet still produces undiminished crops 
with heavy manuring. Land that had "berried out" 
was common in the older shipping districts of Florida 
until the growers resorted to green-manuring. In Mis- 
souri and Arkansas, land that has been in strawberries 
for three or four years should not be set again for at least 
four years. Along the Atlantic coast, the crop may recur 
at shorter intervals since but one crop is taken from most 
plantings. In irrigated regions, if strawberries follow 


Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 45 

strawberries, the second planting may need fertilizing. 
The strawberry crop lends itself readily to association 
with other crops. It occupies the land but a compar- 
atively short period ; it is of a low habit ; the plants may 
be restricted to a limited space; and the fruit ripens in 
early spring, making it possible to plow the vines under 
and plant summer or fall crops. 

Crops grown with strawberries are of two general 
types : rotation crops, those that are a part of a definite 
scheme of succession, usually including one or more that 
are introduced to improve the fertility of the land ; and 
companion crops, those that are grown in association 
with strawberries merely as a matter of convenience, or 
to secure the fullest use of the land. 


Very few growers follow a definite rotation. The 
exigencies of the season, market conditions and expe- 
diency in other respects frequently make it necessary to 
modify the plan. When virgin ground can be secured, 
it is preferred. If it is necessary to use old ground, most 
growers endeavor to precede strawberries with some other 
crop for at least two years. If one of these is a green- 
manuring crop, and the crop immediately preceding 
strawberries is one that will cleanse the land of weeds, 
so much the better. 

In the North. 

The most common rotation throughout the North is 
red clover, Irish potatoes and strawberries. This lasts 
three or four, occasionally five, years. A one or two year 
old clover sod, preferably top-dressed with manure, is 

46 Strawberry-Growing 

turned under for potatoes. After these are dug, crimson 
clover, rye or hairy vetch is seeded as a cover-crop. 
This is plowed under in winter or early spring for straw- 
berries. Rye, heavily manured, is especially valued in 
Massachusetts for preceding strawberries. If the land 
is in urgent need of humus, cowpeas or soybeans may be 
seeded on the clover farrow and plowed under in the fall ; 
then the land is manured and set to strawberries the fol- 
lowing spring ; or it is seeded to rye or crimson clover for 
spring plowing. Another popular plan is to manure a 
grass sod heavily, turn it for Indian corn, and set straw- 
berries the year following. It is best not to plant on any 
kind of sod except, perhaps, a red clover sod, because of 
the difficulties with white grub, and undecayed vegeta- 

F. E. Beatty recommends the following treatment on 
the sandy soils of Michigan. Seed rye in the fall and 
top-dress it with fifteen tons of manure an acre during 
the winter. Turn this in the spring for early potatoes, 
using about five hundred pounds an acre of a 4-8-9 
fertilizer. If the potatoes can be harvested by July 
first, seed the land to cowpeas; if delayed until August 
first, seed Canada peas, since these are not hurt by early 
frosts. If the peas mature early enough, turn them under 
and seed rye again; if not, let them remain on the sur- 
face and disk them under in early spring before the 
strawberries are set. Hairy vetch is an excellent crop 
to precede strawberries on sandy soils. W. W. Farns- 
worth, of Ohio, recommends a three-year rotation, as 
follows : " As soon as the strawberry crop is harvested, 
plant Irish potatoes. After these are dug, seed rye. 
Very early the following spring seed red clover on the 
rye and harrow it in. Harvest the rye, plow under the 

Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 47 

clover during the following winter, and plant straw- 
berries in the spring." 

When the area is very limited and it is desired to keep 
half of it in strawberries each year, Matthew Crawford, 
of Ohio, advises that buckwheat be seeded after the crop 
is harvested. This is plowed under and followed with 
rye, which is turned early enough in the spring to set 
strawberries. Cowpeas might be substituted for buck- 
wheat in the South. 

In the South. 

The long growing season of the South makes it pos- 
sible to introduce more soil-improving crops, and thus 
shorten the rotation. One of the best methods of quickly 
improving poor land in Delaware and Maryland for straw- 
berries, is to sow cowpeas in May, plow them under in 
early August and follow with crimson clover. This 
land is ready for strawberries the next spring. If pos- 
sible, a crop that cleans the land of weeds, such as Irish 
potatoes, sweet potatoes or tomatoes, should precede 
strawberries. If the potatoes are harvested too late to 
seed crimson clover, rye may be substituted. C. A. 
McCue, of Delaware, suggests this rotation : " First 
and second years, strawberries ; third year, strawberries 
followed by crimson clover or cowpeas; fourth year, 
crimson clover turned under and land set to tomatoes, 
sweet corn or snap beans. At the last cultivation of these 
crops seed twenty pounds of crimson clover an acre, or 
hairy vetch. The fifth year the land may come in straw- 
berries again; thus they occupy the land three years 
out of four." 

In the Ozark district, a frequent result of plowing 
under red clover is a big volunteer crop; hence, clover 

48 Strawberry-Growing 

is not popular in a strawberry rotation. Cowpeas and 
rye are preferred. In the South Atlantic and Gulf states 
the cowpea is the main dependence of the strawberry- 
grower for improving his land. Usually, it is best to follow 
cowpeas with rye, oats or Indian corn, after which another 
crop of cowpeas may be turned down before planting 
strawberries. Cowpeas may be sown as a catch crop be- 
tween the rows of corn at the last working. Velvet beans 
sometimes are used instead of cowpeas in Florida and the 
Gulf states. Caution is necessary about turning under 
a heavy crop of green herbage just before planting. It 
may be mowed and left on the ground for ten days, then 
cut into the soil with a disk harrow. 

A large proportion of southern strawberries are grown 
in rotation with truck crops. Field corn, millet or 
winter vegetables, especially spinach, cabbage or kale, 
are planted after the old bed is plowed under. The 
next spring, vegetables are planted — commonly Irish 
potatoes — followed by a green-manuring crop of cow- 
peas. Then strawberries are set, or the land may go 
into corn with a cowpea catch crop and planted the 
next year. Another popular rotation is to seed cowpeas 
after strawberries, and either turn them under or make 
them into hay. Early cabbages or early potatoes fol- 
low. At this point another crop of cowpeas is taken off, 
or fall vegetables may be planted. The third year corn 
is planted, with a cowpea catch crop, and both vines and 
corn stalks are plowed under for strawberries. Other 
combinations of strawberries with truck crops are given 
on pages 49 and 50. 

In the irrigated regions of the west, alfalfa is considered 
a good crop to precede strawberries, but it is difficult to 
kill out the alfalfa roots. In western Oregon and Wash- 

Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 49 

ington, depleted land is brought into condition with one 
or two green-manuring crops of winter vetch, followed 
by some tilled crop the year before strawberries are 


The low habit and restricted growth of the strawberry 
plant makes it possible to grow many kinds of crops with 
it, not primarily to improve the soil, but in order to occupy 
all of the land. This is practiced mainly by market- 
gardeners and orchardists; it is not common in general 
field culture. 

Vegetables used as fillers between strawberries. 

In most companion cropping, vegetables are used 
which are harvested before the strawberries need the en- 
tire use of the land. Irish potatoes have been used 
largely for this purpose, especially in the Central and 
Southern states. In the Norfolk district, potatoes are 
planted in February, in rows five feet apart. Extra 
early varieties are used, especially Irish Cobbler. As 
soon as the potatoes have sprouted enough to mark the 
rows plainly, strawberries are set midway between 
(Plate III). The potatoes are dug about June first. On 
Long Island, potatoes are dug about July 10th, and snap 
beans, cabbages or turnips are planted in the same 
place. The strawberries may be set in rows three feet 
apart each way, with a hill of early potatoes between 
each two plants. The strawberries are not allowed to 
run until the potatoes are dug. 

Early dwarf sweet corn, pop-corn and early maturing 
dwarf varieties of field corn, are used as companion crops 
in the Northern and Central states. The strawberries are 

50 Strawberry-Groioing 

set in rows four feet apart and the plants spaced two feet 
apart in the row. A hill of corn is planted in each inter- 
val in the row. Unless the season is very dry, the corn 
does not injure the strawberry plants materially. The 
stalks are cut as soon as the ears are pulled. 

In the Norfolk district, early maturing and small- 
headed varieties of cabbage, of the Wakefield or Early 
Sunrise type, are set in late fall or early winter in rows 
two and one-half feet apart. The following spring, 
strawberries are interspersed, as shown below : 



The cabbages are cut about the last of May and the 
entire area given to strawberries; or snap beans may 
be planted. Cabbages are less desirable than potatoes, 
because they shade the strawberry plants. Break down 
the outer leaves of the cabbage plants that are next to 
strawberry plants. 

Tomatoes are valued as a companion crop, especially 
in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. The runners 
set freely underneath the tomato vines and are not 
smothered, as may be the case with cabbages. The 
spraying that is given tomatoes is beneficial to the straw- 
berries, also. Strawberries are set in early spring, in 
rows four to five feet apart, the plants two feet apart 
in the row. In June a tomato plant is set in the center of 
each square, thus : 

S S S s s 
T T T T 

s s s s s 

Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 51 

Some prefer to alternate the strawberry plants and the 
tomatoes in the same row. Snap or string beans, onions, 
beets, peas, lettuce, radishes and other vegetables are 
grown between rows of strawberries occasionally. 

Strawberries as fillers between fruit-trees. 

The use of strawberries between fruit-trees is most 
common in the irrigated sections of the Northwest, be- 
tween rows of apples and peaches (Plate III). It is better 
to leave each row of trees in an unplanted and tilled strip 
of land from six to ten feet wide. In the Yakima Valley, 
Washington, strawberries are used as fillers in peach 
orchards for three years, and in apple orchards for six 
years. Care must be taken not to injure the trees by 
the late irrigations that are necessary for strawberries, 
especially the first season. In humid regions, strawberries 
require tillage later in the season than is best for tree- 
fruits. They should be used in the orchard only the 
first two or three years and kept some distance from the 
trees. Occasionally, strawberries are grown successfully 
between rows of grapes, currants and gooseberries. 
The results from companion cropping will be disappoint- 
ing unless the land is rich enough to support both crops 
and is tilled intensively. There is a double drain upon 
soil moisture and fertility. 


The strawberry is not an exhaustive crop. The slight 
amount of plant-food in the berries is shown by the 
analyses of L. L. Van Slyke : ^ 

1 Bui. 265, N. Y. (Geneva) Exp. Sta. (1905), p. 227. 



Table I. — Plant-food in Strawberries 





Beder Wood- 

- Berries 










Gandy — 











Sharpless — 











Plant-food withdrawn from the soil. 

The strawberry draws little plant-food from the soil 
as compared with a crop of corn or wheat. L. L. Van 
Slyke estimates that the approximate amounts of plant- 
food constituents used in producing a crop of 5000 pounds 
an acre, are 7.5 pounds of nitrogen, three pounds of phos- 
phoric acid and twelve pounds of potash.^ A wheat 
crop of thirty-four bushels an acre with straw included, 
removes about thirty-eight pounds of nitrogen, thirteen 
pounds of potash and nineteen pounds of phosphoric 
acid. This withdrawal of plant-food is very small com- 
pared with the total quantity present in ordinary soils. 
One of the best strawberry soils in Missouri, according to 
W. L. Howard, contains, in the top seven inches, 3800 
pounds of nitrogen, 1430 pounds of phosphorus and 
7990 pounds of potash .^ A large proportion of this is 
not immediately available, hence strawberries on this 
soil profit by an application of 300 pounds of acid 
phosphate an acre, according to experiments conducted 
by the Missouri Experiment Station. 

> "Fertilizers and Crops," p. 694. 

2 Report Mo. Hort. Soc, 1907, p. 267. 

Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 53 

Why strawberries require a rich soil. 

Although the amount of plant-food actually removed 
by the strawberry plant is small, the crop responds to 
liberal fertilizing. This is partly because it has a high 
money value an acre, — prospective, at least, — but 
chiefly because of the very short time between the blos- 
som and the ripe fruit. In the North, the plants have 
only about four weeks in which to develop a crop that 
may weigh three or four times more than the plants. 
The apple has several months in which to mature its 
fruit, a large crop of which is not nearly equal to the 
weight of the trees. Hence, the main fertilizer require- 
ment of the strawberry is that the plant-food shall be 
immediately available. The texture of the soil and the 
facility with which water and plant-food move through 
it are even more important than its plant-food content. 
Where the strawberry blossoms and fruits continuously 
over a period of several months, as in Florida and south- 
ern California, the draught upon the soil is somewhat 

Numerous field experiments have shown conclusively 
that the analysis of the fruit is no index to the fertilizer 
treatment that should be given. Neither does an analy- 
sis of the soil reveal much that will aid the strawberry- 
grower in the use of fertilizers. The grower may obtain 
some hint from soil' aijalyses and fertilizer experiments 
elsewhere, upon the same type of soil; but field tests 
with different fertilizers on his own farm are likely to 
yield more valuable results. * ^ 

Results of fertilizer experiments. 

The futility of attempting to follow the fertilizer prac- 
tice of another district is illustrated by the conflicting 


54 Strawberry-Gromng 

results secured in three representative experiments, in dif- 
ferent parts of the country. In 1903-1904 the Tennes- 
see Experiment Station conducted experiments at Knox- 
ville "designed to show the effect of muriate of potash, 
acid phosphate and cotton-seed meal, singly and in va- 
rious combinations, upon strawberries." ^ The conclu- 
sion was reached "This soil does not need fertilizer for 
strawberries." The Missouri Experiment Station has 
reported the results from fertilizers applied to a two year 
old bed at Sarcoxie, Missouri, in March, 1911.^ These 
experiments indicate a marked benefit from the appli- 
cation of phosphoric acid, but a loss from the use of 
fertilizers containing potash and nitrogen. In 1901 the 
New York (Cornell) Experiment Station summarized the 
results of fertilizer experiments with strawberries in 
Oswego County.^ These showed "the superiority of 
potassic and phosphatic fertilizers as compared with the 

The most profitable use of fertilizers depends not only 
upon the type of soil, its native plant-food content, 
physical condition and previous treatment, but, also, 
on the variety, method of training, age of plants, distance 
from market and methods of culture. Varieties like the 
New York cannot stand a very rich soil ; the foliage be- 
comes so rank that the fruit-stems and the berries mould. 
Hill plants require heavier fertilizing than matted rows. 
The older the plants, the more they respond to fertiliz- 
ing. When strawberries are grown at a great distance 
from the market, and firmness is most important, nitro- 
gen must be applied sparingly, if at all. Under intensive 

« Bui. Tenn. Exp. Sta., Vol. XVIII. No. 2. p. 13. 

» Bui. 113, Mo. Exp. Sta. (1913). 

3 Bui. 189, N. Y. (Cornell) Exp. Sta. (1901). 

Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 55 

culture and on high-priced land, as in trucking and 
market-gardening, an amount of fertilizer can be used 
profitably that would be impracticable in general field 
culture. For these reasons, general advice concerning 
the use of fertilizers is of little value. It is a local and 
personal problem. 


Green-manuring is beneficial chiefly because it improves 
the physical condition of the soil through the addition 
of decaying vegetable matter, which becomes humus. 
Leguminous green-manuring crops, such as the clovers 
and cowpeas, also may enrich the soil with nitrogen, 
accumulated through the nodules on their roots. No 
green-manuring crop adds to the soil any more potash or 
phosphoric acid than it took out. If the soil is deficient 
in these plant-foods, therefore, it is necessary to supple- 
ment green-manuring with applications of the mineral 
plant-foods. Heavy applications of nitrogenous manures 
and fertilizers tend to make soft berries. This difficulty 
is largely overcome by the free use of leguminous green- 
manuring crops in the rotation. Except when large 
quantities of barn manures are available at a low price, 
green-manuring is the most practicable method of keep- 
ing the soil in good heart. The use of green-manuring 
crops in strawberry rotations is considered on pages 45 
to 49. 


For many years, farm manures, especially horse ma- 
nure, were used in North America almost to the exclusion 
of other fertilizing materials. Nearly all the unfavorable 

56 Strawberry 'Gr awing 

results reported from the use of manure, such as running to 
vines, poor flavor and lack of firmness, are caused by the 
large amount of available nitrogen that it contains. One 
ton of fresh horse manure contains about 9.8 pounds of 
nitrogen, 3.1 pounds of phosphoric acid and 14.9 pounds 
of potash. This is not a balanced fertilizer for the straw- 
berry ; it contains too much nitrogen in proportion to the 
mineral plant-foods. On clay soils, which are usually rich 
in available potash and phosphoric acid, manuring alone 
may give excellent results ; but in most cases it is desirable 
to supplement manuring with applications of potash and 
phosphoric acid. Another disadvantage, especially with 
horse manure, is the large number of weed seeds that it 
contains. This may be overcome, in part, by compost- 
ing the manure. If fresh manure is used, it should be 
applied to the preceding crop at least a year before straw- 
berries are set. Very strawy manure should not be ap- 
plied at planting time, as it loosens and dries out the soil. 
The disadvantages of manure are insignificant compared 
with the benefits. The plant-foods in manures are readily 
available : they contain bacteria which have a beneficial 
influence on soil fertility ; they increase the water-hold- 
ing capacity of the soil and improve its texture ; the bene- 
ficial effect is extended over many years. 

Rate of application. 

In most cases, manure should not be used as a main 
source of plant-food, but in connection with green- 
manuring and commercial fertilizers. The application 
to the acre will depend largely on the cost ; when manure 
costs over two dollars a ton perhaps the same results 
can be secured at less expense with green-manures and 
commercial fertilizers. An application of twelve to 

Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 57 

twenty tons an acre is considered sufficient on average 
soils. Market-gardeners close to city stables, where 
manure can be secured for fifty to seventy-five cents a 
ton, make very heavy applications. Henry Jeroleman, 
of New Jersey, uses "at least sixty one-horse loads of 
manure to the acre each season." 

Manure is broadcasted and harrowed in ; this is prefer- 
able to plowing it under, unless it is very strawy. Non- 
heating kinds, as cow or hog manure, may be scattered 
in the planting furrow. Only about one-half to one- 
third as much poultry manure should be applied to the 
acre as of horse manure. If used as a top-dressing on 
growing plants, it is likely to burn the foliage. For this 
purpose, mix one part of manure with three parts of soil 
or muck. 

Use of lime and ashes. 

The wild strawberry plant thrives in acid soils. Many 
cultivators have observed that the domestic varieties are 
somewhat impatient of lime. In 1912, W. J. Wright 
reported experiments in Pennsylvania which showed 
the superiority of unlimed soil.^ A Florida grower ad- 
vises: "Never use lime or land plaster; it is poisonous 
to the strawberry." On the other hand, F. E. Beatty 
cites experience in Michigan, Indiana and Iowa, which 
shows that moderate liming of acid soils is quite beneficial .^ 
It is evident that lime should be used sparingly if at all, 
unless needed to secure a maximum growth of the legumes 
in the rotation. 

Unleached wood ashes once were used extensively. 
They were harrowed in before planting at the rate of 

1 Proc. Sci. Hort. Sci., 1912, pp. 9-14. 

2 Market Growers' Journal XI (1912), p. 266. 

58 Strawberry-Growing 

twenty-five to one hundred bushels an acre, or used as 
a top-dressing in the fall or early winter. The results 
were variable, partly because a ton of wood ashes con- 
tains about 600 pounds of lime. When ashes can be 
bought at a reasonable figure they can be used to advan- 
tage on all soils not well supplied with lime. Ashes should 
not be mixed before being applied with any organic mate- 
rial, such as hen manure, as they will liberate the nitrogen 
in the manure. 


When the plants grow a full year before bearing, most 
of the fertilizer is applied the first year, in order to secure 
strong crowns.^ Little, if any, fertilizer is applied the 
second year, unless the field is to be renewed ; in which 
case it is fertilized immediately after the surplus plants 
have been removed. A large number of growers in the 
Northern and Central states apply one-third of the fer- 
tilizer before the plants are set, one-third during the 
summer and one-third early the following spring, before 
the plants have started to grow. The third that is used 
during the growing season frequently is divided into 
several applications; small handfuls are dropped be- 
tween the plants, at intervals of three to four weeks, and 
hoed in. When the plants begin to slacken in growth, 
they will be benefited by a fertilizer stimulant. 

In the North, many growers have had satisfactory 
results from nitrogenous fertilizers applied very early in 
the spring of the fruiting year. The gain is due mainly 
to the larger size of the fruit; the number of berries is 

1 The sources of plant-food in commercial fertilizers and the home 
mixing of fertilizers are discussed in "Fertilizers," by E. B. Voorhees, 
Revised Edition, 1916. Rural Science Series. 


Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 59 

increased but little.^ Gains of 500 to 1000 quarts an acre 
from a spring top-dressing of nitrate of soda are not 
infrequent. It is applied as the plants come into bloom. 
If used late in the spring, there is danger that it will pro- 
duce a rank growth and the berries will be soft and of 
poor quality and flavor. This danger is greater in the 
South than in the North. Varieties that are weak in 
vine growth, like the Clyde, respond best. 

Experiments in southwest Missouri by W. H. Chandler 
yielded the following results : ^ " Nitrogen in the form of 
either sodium nitrate or dried blood, when applied in the 
spring before the crop is harvested, has, in every case, 
given very injurious results. It causes excessive plant 
and weed growth and greatly reduces the yield of the 
fruit. While the berries are larger, there are fewer of 
them, they are soft, and they have poor color and quality." 
In Florida and the Gulf states it may not be practicable 
to apply nitrogen at any time, as it makes the berries 
soft. Throughout the South, three or four applications 
of fertilizer commonly are made; the first when the 
plants are set, and the last four or five weeks before 
the plants bloom. 

» . 
Methods of distributing fertiti^er. 

The roots of the strawberry do not forage much be- 
yond the spread of the leaves. When quick action 
is desired, the fertilizer must be placed close to the roots, 
if 1000 pounds or less are applied at one time; larger 
applications are broadcasted. Furrows may be opened 
where the rows of plants are to stand, and a bull-tongue 
used to mix the fertilizer with the soil before setting the 

1 Report N. J. Exp. Sta., 1891, p. 141. 

2 Bui. 113, Mo. Exp. Sta. (1913), pp. 304-5. 

60 Strawberry-Growing 

plants. Where the land is bedded, the bed is split with 
a bull-tongue, the fertilizer sowed, and a double shovel 
used to mix it with the soil before the plants are set. 
Some scatter fertilizer in the bottom of a furrow, then 
turn additional furrows upon it from each side to make a 
drainage bed. Usually, it is more convenient to set the 
plants first and make side applications of fertilizers 
afterward. A shallow furrow is turned away from the 
row, the fertilizer scattered in it and the soil thrown back. 
But one side of a row is opened at a time. Many Florida 
growers put all the fertilizer in with the hoe. Three men 
work together; one opens a hole between two plants 
with a single stroke of the hoe, another drops the fertilizer 
and a third pulls the soil back over it. There are a 
number of horse-pulled fertilizer distributors adapted for 
use in broadcast training. These have a fan-shaped 
arrangement on each side which broadcasts fertilizer 
over each row. Chemical fertilizer, ashes, and particu- 
larly nitrate of soda, should not be used as a top-dressing 
when the plants are wet, even if dormant, as they are 
likely to burn the foliage. If it is raining, however, the 
fertilizer can be applied without danger. If fertilizer is 
applied as a top-dressing when the plants are dry, run a 
brush drag over the rows to remove any that clings to the 
leaves. If the top-dressing is less than 150 pounds an 
acre, the fertilizer should be mixed with an equal quan- 
tity of dry soil, so that it may be distributed more evenly. 
In Oregon, the spring top-dressing of nitrate of soda 
sometimes is applied in solution, at the rate of one ounce 
to three gallons of water. About one pint is poured 
around each hill plant. 


Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 61 


Fertilizer practice for strawberries, as for other crops, 
depends greatly on the soil and other factors; but the 
plant, being shallow-rooted, responds readily to fertilizers 
as a rule, if the land is in need. Various geographical 
practices or tests are here recorded. 

Canada and northern United States. 

In this region the main dependence is farm manures. 
H. F. Hall of New Hampshire recommends a choice of 
one of these three treatments : ^ 

" 1. Fifteen to eighteen cords of stable manure per acre. 

"2. When manure is scarce, eight to ten loads of manure 
supplemented with seventy-five bushels of unleached hard 
wood ashes and 600 pounds of fine ground bone, har- 
rowed in before the plants are set. 

"3. When no manure can be obtained, use 1500 to 
2000 pounds per acre of the following fertilizer; broad- 
cast all of it and harrow it in before setting the plants : 
100 pounds nitrate of soda; 500 pounds tankage; 1000 
pounds acid phosphate; 400 pounds muriate of potash. 
This fertilizer analyzes 2.5 per cent nitrogen, 10 per cent 
phosphoric acid, and 10 per cent potash. In addition to 
the above treatment, top-dress with 100 to 200 pounds of 
nitrate of soda when the plants are in bloom, to increase 
the size of the fruit." 

L. H. Bailey reported on a three-years test of fertilizers 
in Oswego County, New York, as follows : ^ " These ex- 
periments show the superiority of potassic and phosphatic 
fertilizers as compared with the nitrogenous. The nitro- 

1 Bui. 137, N. H. Exp. Sta., pp. 160-1. 

2 Bui. 189, N. Y. (Cornell) Exp. Sta. (1901), p. 128. 

62 Strmvberry-Growing 

gen fertilizers, including very heavy applications of stable 
manure, gave too much growth and an inferior quality of 
fruit." For western New York, L. J. Farmer recom- 
mends 500 to 2000 pounds of a 4-10-10 fertilizer (that is, 
one analyzing 4 per cent nitrogen, 10 per cent phosphoric 
acid and 10 per cent of potash). In the market gardens 
near Boston, very heavy applications are made. In 
1908, Wilfrid Wheeler, of Concord, Massachusetts, recom- 
mended, "At the first feeding, which should come about 
two weeks after setting, use tankage analyzing 7 per 
cent of nitrogen at the rate of one ton per acre. Follow 
this two weeks later with either ground bone or bone 
black at the rate of 1800 pounds per acre. One week 
later, apply one ton of wood ashes per acre. Another 
application of bone, and later one of bone black, will 
greatly help the plants." In addition, he often used 200 
pounds of nitrate of soda in early spring. These recom- 
mendations are for hill plants in market gardens, when a 
yield of about 20,000 quarts to the acre is expected. 

Middle Atlantic states. 

In 1901 E. B. Voorhees, summarizing the results of four 
years' experiments in New Jersey, advised the use of 
500 to 800 pounds of a mixture of raw ground bone, 
acid phosphate and muriate of potash, equal parts by 
weight, to be applied broadcast before the plants are set ; 
followed by fifty to sixty pounds of nitrate of soda or 
dried blood before they start to grow, and a top-dressing 
of 100 pounds of dried blood in early spring. At Ham- 
mondton, New Jersey, the growers now use 500 to 1000 
pounds an acre of a 5-8-10 fertilizer. Another popular 
mixture is 400 pounds of dried blood, 1200 pounds of 
bone meal, 400 pounds of sulfate of potash, applied at the 

Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 63 

rate of 600 to 1200 pounds an acre. Delaware and 
Maryland growers use 500 to 2000 pounds an acre of a 
2-8-10, 3-7-11, 3-9-7 or 4-6-14 fertilizer during the 
first season, sometimes followed with a spring top-dressing 
of nitrate. Four hundred to 500 pounds are applied at 
planting time, and an equal amount in midsummer, late 
summer, and early the following spring. 

South Atlantic states. 

In the Norfolk district, strawberries are grown with 
truck, and the fields are manured heavily. In addition, 
from 1500 to 2000 pounds of high-grade complete fer- 
tilizer are used to the acre annually. Frequently the 
expense for fertilizing an acre is seventy-five dollars a 
year, of which thirty-five is for manure and forty for 
fertilizers. Only a part of this is charged to the straw- 
berry crop, since two vegetable crops are harvested from 
the same land in one year. Most of the fertilizer is ap- 
plied to the companion truck crops. Poor results from 
the use of nitrogenous fertilizers begin in North Carolina, 
and become more acute farther south, as the distance 
from market increases. On the sandy soils of the coastal 
plain of North Carolina, a 3-8-10 fertilizer is used almost 
exclusively. From 1200 to 2000 pounds are applied, 
half in July or August, and half in December or January. 
On the heavier soils, 500 pounds of raw bone or dissolved 
bone are applied two or three weeks before the plants are 
set, and again in the fall. 

Southern states. 

Very little manure is used in the South, because it 
softens the fruit. For the same reason, nitrate of soda 
should not be applied for three months before shipping 

64 Strawberry-Growing 

begins. In many parts of the South, especially in eastern 
Tennessee and Alabama, strawberries are grown wholly 
on new ground and no fertilizer is used. Florida growers 
fertilize heavily. About 1890, applications of two tons 
an acre of high-grade fertilizer costing sixty-five dollars, 
were common. Now, the maximum is about one ton, 
costing forty dollars and analyzing 3 to 4 per cent nitro- 
gen, 6 to 8 per cent phosphoric acid and 6 to 8 per cent 
potash. On very sandy soils the proportion of potash 
is increased to 10 or 12 per cent. The most popular 
mixture in Florida is 800 pounds cottonseed meal, 800 
pounds acid phosphate and 250 pounds muriate of potash. 
From 400 to 1000 pounds of fertilizer are applied in 
the furrow, when the plants are set. Some prefer to 
wait until six weeks after planting and give a side-dressing. 
Another side-dressing is given four to six weeks later, on 
the opposite side of the row ; and in November or Decem- 
ber a third application, directly between the plants in the 

About the same methods are used in Georgia and 
Alabama as in Florida. A 4-8-8 fertilizer is popular, 
but nitrate of soda is preferred to cottonseed meal. 
Most of the clay soils of Mississippi and Louisiana are 
abundantly supplied with potash, but it is well to use 
some potash, even on the clay soils, as it gives firmer 
and brighter berries. From 400 to 800 pounds an acre 
of a fertilizer analyzing 4 per cent of nitrogen and 6 per 
cent of phosphoric acid, are most commonly used; on 
sandy soils, 4 to 6 per cent of potash is added. In Miss- 
issippi and Louisiana it is customary to apply one-half 
of the fertilizer in June or early July and the balance in 
the autumn. 

Most of the soils in the Ozark region are somewhat 

Rotations, Manuring and Fertilizing 65 

deficient in nitrogen and phosphoric acid but applications 
of fertilizers after the plants are established give poor 
results. It is preferable to maintain the nitrogen con- 
tent by the use of green-manures. W. H. Chandler recom- 
mends that on all but the richest soils 250 to 300 pounds 
of acid phosphate or steamed bone-meal be used, 
preferably one year before the crop is harvested, and 
that no nitrogen or potash be applied.^ 

Very little fertilizer is used west of the Mississippi 
Valley, and almost none in the irrigated districts, unless 
the land is cropped in strawberries continuously. Some 
Oregon growers use a mixture of three parts wood ashes 
to one part ground bone, and a 3-6-9 fertilizer is used 
occasionally, at the rate of 500 to 800 pounds an acre, 
especially on the older beds. 

1 Bui. 113, Mo. Exp. Sta. (1913). 



Tillage is more beneficial to the strawberry than 
to most other fruits; it is not able to cope success- 
fully with weeds, because of its low habit of growth. 
A rank growth of weeds smothers the plants, cutting 
them off from sunshine, water and plant-food. More- 
over, the proportion of the fruit to the plant is very 
large and about nine-tenths of the berry is water. 


One reason why the strawberry plant requires a large 
quantity of water is because it is shallow-rooted. In 
1883 E. L. Sturtevant washed out the roots of a Triomphe 
plant growing on heavy clay soil at Geneva, New York, 
with the following result : " The roots extended nearly 
vertically downward to a depth of twenty-two inches. 
The horizontal roots were few and short, the longest 
being traceable but six inches. Nearly all the fibrous 
roots were found directly beneath the plant." In 1896 
E. S. Goff washed out the roots of a section of a matted 
row, two feet wide, growing at Madison, Wisconsin. He 
reported : " The deepest roots extended a little less than 
two feet, while the horizontal roots only extended three 
inches on either side, reaching scarcely beyond the area 
covered by the leaves. The roots grew largely down- 


Tillage and Irrigation 67 

ward, and all but the merest fraction of them were con- 
tained within the first foot of soil." ^ The soil was a 
light clay loam overlaying a sandy clay subsoil. In the 
same soil the roots of raspberries extended five feet deep. 
These observations show why the supply of water and 
plant-food must be abundant and quickly available. 


Few persons wovild till a strawberry field as thoroughly 
as it should be, in order to conserve soil moisture, with- 
out the incentive of weeds. Weeds are tangible and 
concrete evidence that the soil needs attention. Some- 
thing may be done to lessen the number of weeds by se- 
lecting a clean field for planting and not using fresh 
manure. The most troublesome weeds in the strawberry 
field are purslane, crab-grass and chick weed. Purslane 
and crab-grass are summer weeds, and exceedingly tena- 
cious of life. Some southern growers make the best of a 
bad situation by letting crab-grass grow after midsummer 
and use it to mulch the berries. Chickweed is a cool 
weather plant; it makes most of its growth during late 
fall, winter and early spring, while the crop is laid by. 
Where the winters are mild, as along the South Atlantic 
seaboard, it is a serious nuisance. A field that apparently 
was quite free from weeds when laid by in the fall may be 
a mat of chickweed in the spring ; not infrequently, such 
fields are plowed under, as not worth picking. Spraying 
chickweed with iron sulfate gives fair results, but costs 
too much. L. J. Farmer, of New York, prescribes the 
following treatment: "If mouse-eared chickweed or 
other fine weeds come late in September or early October, 

1 Rep. Wis. Exp. Sta., 1897, p. 289; Kept. Wis. Hort. Soc, 1896, 
p. 250. 

68 Strawberry-Growing 

the simplest method of destroying them is to loosen up 
the soil between the rows with a cultivator and then haul 
this with a common hoe right up upon the row of plants, ^ 
covering the weeds and runners and small plants with 
one inch of soil. The young strawberry plant will grow 
up through, but most of the weeds will be smothered, 
and the ones that lie over until spring can be pulled out 
by hand." 

A straw mulch is used successfully as a substitute for 
tillage in hill training and under intensive culture. John 
Knox, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, the "strawberry 
king" of 1861, grew his fifty acres of hill plants in this 
way. In the "Kevitt system" the plants are tilled the 
first season, but mulched thereafter. Layer or potted 
plants set in late summer or fall are commonly mulched 
when planted, and no tillage given until after the crop 
is harvested the following spring. Summer mulching is 
not practicable in regions having a very severe winter; 
it makes the plants tender, and they are likely to be winter- 
killed unless an additional winter mulch is applied. The 
Arizona Experiment Station found that in the hot, arid 
climate of southern Arizona it is advantageous to mulch 
with fine straw about the middle of June to keep the roots 
cool. With these few exceptions, strawberry plantations 
are tilled, and much more thoroughly than was once 
thought necessary. Few modern fields are as weedy 
as those described by J. R. Warder in 1864, as yielding 
"two tons of hay and one ton of strawberries per acre." 


Perfectly straight rows are not only a pleasure to the 
eye but also a distinct aid to thorough and economical 

Tillage and Irrigation 69 

tillage. If the plants are aligned both ways, the culti- 
vator can be run both ways within three to four inches of 
the plants, and but little hand hoeing, which costs more 
than horse tillage, is necessary. Since the roots seldom 
extend beyond the spread of leaves, there is little danger 
of working too close, provided the tillage is shallow. 
Close planting and hand tillage with the wheel hoe are 
practiced commercially in Florida and southern Cali- 
fornia ; also, to a limited extent, in the market-gardens of 
the North Atlantic states and in home gardens. There is 
a steady drift away from hand tillage, especially in Florida. 
Except where forage and grain are quite expensive, horse 
tillage costs less than hand tillage and is more satisfactory, 
even though fewer plants can be grown on an acre. 

Toob for horse tillage. 

The best tillage tool is the one that will do the work 
required of it at the least expense. The tool that suits 
one man and one set of conditions may be inappropriate 
elsewhere. Frequently a weeder is used two or three 
times immediately after the field is set. It does not pull 
up the plants, if they were set firmly, and makes a shallow 
mulch. After the plants are firmly rooted, cultivate 
rather deeply, so as to loosen the soil that was tramped 
in setting the field. This is especially necessary on heavy 
land. A five-toothed cultivator with broad shovels 
is used for this purpose. This implement is likely to 
ridge and dry out the soil ; hence a ten- or twelve-toothed 
cultivator, with narrow shovels or spike teeth, is pre- 
ferred for summer tillage unless the soil is wet. A two- 
horse sulky cultivator covers about seven acres a day, 
a one-horse cultivator covers three and one-half acres. 
A two-row cultivator covering fifteen acres a day is used 

70 Strawherry-Growing 

somewhat in large operations. On very stony land the 
cultivator throws stones upon the plants; if it is run 
reversed, the gravel works toward the middles. 

The toothed cultivator does not cut off large weeds. 
Four knives, made of heavy pieces of steel or a common 
wagon spring, may be attached to the cultivator. These 
slide over the ground and shave off the large weeds. If 
the outer teeth of the cultivator run too deep and throw 
soil upon the plants, they should be adjusted to work 
shallow, or may be removed entirely and wooden pegs 
substituted. In locations with sandy soils there is danger 
that heavy winds will blow sand upon the crowns and 
kill the plants. A tillage tool that leaves the surface 
ridged will prevent this in part. 

Tools for hand tillage. 

When the rows are set so close together as to require 
hand tillage, the wheel hoe is used (Plate IV) ; this is 
supplemented with the scuffle hoe, which shaves off at 
the surface all the large weeds that slip through the teeth 
of the wheel hoe and gives very shallow tillage. It is used 
for the first two cultivations of hill plants after they are set. 

The hand hoe must be used more or less in all methods 
of training. The common garden hoe has too wide a 
blade for convenient use between and around strawberry 
plants. The blade should be narrowed to three inches 
and tilted slightly, so that it will work not over one-quarter 
of an inch deep. Some growers prefer a triangular hoe 
made by cutting off the blade of the common hoe from 
the shank to the outer and lower corners. Another popu- 
lar type of blade is twelve inches long and two inches wide. 
Both are useful for working under the leaves and around 
the runners, especially in matted row training. 

Pi^TE IV. Tillage. — Top. plants smothered by crab-grass, Norfolk, 
Virginia; bottom, wheel hoe, Los Angeles, California. 



Tillage and Irrigation 71 


The frequency of tillage depends on the nature of the 
soil, the annual rainfall, the time of the year and weather 
conditions. The necessity of keeping down weeds usually 
sets the pace, but soil moisture is an equally important 
guide. Some soils are dry and leachy ; others hold mois- 
ture tenaciously. Gravelly soils with a clay subsoil 
hold moisture much better than tight clays, since the 
gravel acts as a surface mulch. Ten cultivations may 
be as effective upon this soil as four upon others. The 
best time to kill weeds is when they are sprouting. Three 
cultivations then cost no more than one after the weeds 
have become so large that they slip between the culti- 
vator teeth and must be chopped off with the hand hoe. 
Some growers cultivate thirty times a season and give 
five hand hoeings. The average among good growers is 
fifteen cultivations and three hand hoeings. 

The loss of water from an uncultivated strawberry 
field, by evaporation, is much larger than is commonly 
supposed. Soils that are packed and crusted by a rain 
lose water very rapidly. The crust should be broken 
as soon as the soil is dry enough to be worked. On light 
sandy soils do not begin cultivation until the plants are 
well established ; early tillage causes the sand to drift 
over some plants and away from others. 

Depth of tillage. 

The nature of the soil and seasonal conditions deter- 
mine the depth of tillage. Tight clay soils need deep 
tillage; sandy soils shallow tillage. In dry weather 
cultivation should be shallow; in wet weather deep. 
For ten days or two weeks after the plants are set culti- 

72 Strawberry-Growing 

vate shallow, if at all, so as not to disturb the plants. 
Be especially careful not to throw soil upon the crowns; 
unless it is soon removed by hand, at the first hoeing, the 
crowns will rot. After this, one or two deep workings 
should be given to loosen the soil compacted by the plant- 
ers. In the North there is little danger of injuring them 
by deep working ; in the South, apparently, there is some 
danger from deep tillage in the fall. Midsummer tillage 
should be shallow, — not more than two and one-half 
inches deep. It is well to vary the depth slightly and to 
use different types of tools ; some growers alternate five- 
toothed and twelve-toothed cultivators throughout the 

Usually it is best not to ridge the land with the culti- 
vator any more than can be helped. The rows tend to 
ridge naturally if the field is fruited three or four years. 
Level culture, when practicable, is better than ridge 
culture, because it exposes less soil surface for evaporation. 
There are some sections, particularly in Florida and the 
Gulf states, where surface drainage must be provided. 
This ridging is usually done, however, before the plants 
are set. The other extreme is found in the lighter soils 
of New Jersey and the Delaware-Maryland peninsula; 
there some growers consider it an advantage to have 
the middles higher than the rows, so that surface drainage 
will be toward the plants. 

In matted row and spaced row training the disposi- 
tion of the runners must be taken into account when cul- 
tivating. The land can be cultivated both ways and 
close to the mother plants until early summer ; then the 
cultivator must be narrowed gradually to permit the 
runners to root. Run the cultivator in the same direction 
each time ; if reversed, many of the runners are uprooted. 

Tillage and Irrigation 73 

Several hand hoeings are necessary to stir the soil close 
to the plants and destroy large weeds that have escaped 
the cultivator. Very large weeds that have rooted 
close to strawberry plants should be pulled only when 
the soil is wet, and with the feet set firmly on each side, 
or they may be shaved off at the surface. 

How late to till in the autumn. 

How late to till depends on the locality and the variety. 
Many northern growers stop the cultivator in early 
September, but the conviction is growing that it is better 
to continue tillage until the first severe frost, so that the 
field will go into the winter free from weeds. In the 
mild climate of the coast region of British Columbia, 
Washington and Oregon, weeds grow luxuriantly all 
winter ; hence it is necessary to maintain tillage through- 
out the winter and until the plants blossom. In the 
Gulf states the field is commonly laid by about November, 
and, if necessary, several hoeings are given during the 
winter, the last one just before the plants bloom. 

From tidewater Virginia southward, especially in the 
Norfolk district, it is customary to abandon the field to 
crab-grass after midsummer. The dense crop of crab- 
grass and other weeds that spring up after midsummer 
is mowed and left as a mulch ; or, if chiefly crab-grass, 
it may be made into hay. In Florida and the Gulf 
states, this method is advised by many cultivators. 
"It is one of the strong points in successful strawberry 
culture in this latitude," says H. E. McKay of Mississippi. 
"Crab-grass, not being deep rooted or continuing its 
growth of top longer than early frost, does not materially 
interfere with the continued growth of the strawberry 
stools during the winter, even should their growth be 

74 Strawberry-Growing 

temporarily checked by the growing grass." It is evident 
that this apparently slip-shod method has real merit 
under certain conditions. It is inexpensive, and it gives 
early berries, but it precludes the possibility of producing 
a large crop, and there is danger that the grass will grow 
so thick that the plants will be smothered. 

Varieties with tall, rank foliage, like the Gandy, should 
not be cultivated as late in the fall as varieties with 
scant foliage like the Clyde, unless this is necessary for 
weed or moisture control. The method of training and 
the dryness of the season will influence the decision to 
some extent. At the last cultivation run a narrow furrow, 
four or ^ve inches deep, down each middle, so that surface 
water may be drained away from the plants quickly. As 
winter approaches, go over the field with a sharp-pointed 
hoe and pick out all weeds between the plants, so that 
they will be clean when laid by under the mulch. 

Early spring tillage. 

If the field has become very weedy during the winter, 
especially with mouse-eared chickweed and shepherd's 
purse, tillage in the spring of the fruiting year may be 
necessary. Spring tillage establishes a soil mulch ; if 
the fruiting season is dry, this may be a decided benefit. 
Heavy clay soils, that bake and dry out easily, are bene- 
fited more by spring tillage than sandy soils. When 
growers depend on fruiting beds for plants to set new 
fields, spring tillage is useful to smooth the surface after 
digging the plants. The objections are the possibility 
of injuring the roots, and the expense. The danger of 
injuring roots by spring tillage has been greatly over- 
estimated ; most of the roots are directly beneath the 
plant and are not touched by the cultivator. 

Tillage and Irrigation 75 

If a winter mulch is applied, the expense of spring 
tillage is heavy. The mulch is removed from the first 
row and placed on the adjacent land. The first row is 
then cultivated, the mulch on the second row placed 
upon it, and so on, from row to row, across the field. 
The mulch of the first row is carried to the last row. Some 
growers rake off all the mulch and cultivate the field 
several times; it is replaced before the berries begin to 
ripen. When the winter mulch is light and the plants 
are grown in hills or hedge-rows, the straw may be drawn 
close to the plants, leaving the middles free for tillage. 
Where five inches or more of winter mulch is used, spring 
tillage is rarely practiced; the expense is prohibitive. 
The mulch is left undisturbed, and any large weeds that 
push through it are pulled by hand when the ground is 
wet. C. P. Close reports experiments in Maryland 
during the seasons of 1908 to 1911, which showed an 
average loss of 188 quarts an acre from spring tillage, 
and only one year was it an advantage ; this was in 1911, 
when the month of May was very dry. Where no winter 
mulch is used, it is customary to give shallow cultivation 
until the blossoms open. This practice prevails on the 
north Pacific coast and, to some extent, on the lighter 
soils of New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Spring 
tillage is common throughout the South, where no winter 
mulch is used. It retards the ripening period slightly ; if 
this is a disadvantage, shave off the weeds with a sharp hoe. 

Tillage during the blossoming period is not desirable. 
If the soil is dry, dust is thrown upon the blossoms, and 
results in malformed berries. Since tillage checks the 
radiation of heat as well as the evaporation of soil water, 
fields tilled when the plants are blossoming are perhaps 
somewhat more likely to be injured by frost. Some 

76 Strawberry-Growing 

growers cultivate through the picking season in order 
to loosen the ground compacted by pickers and preserve 
a soil mulch. This is practicable only when the soil is 
sandy and well drained ; a heavy soil might become 
muddy and disagreeable to the pickers. It would help 
to prevent the berries from being spattered with dirt 
if a single narrow furrow is run through each middle to 
carry off the rainfall. In southern California, straw- 
berries are tilled throughout the protracted blossoming 
and ripening period. 


Irrigation is the handmaid of tillage ; the main object 
of both is to maintain an adequate supply of moisture 
in the soil. In arid regions, irrigation of strawberries 
is indispensable; in humid regions it may be advanta- 

The methods of irrigation in common use are of two 
types, — gravity or pressure. Gravity irrigation is prac- 
ticed in arid regions almost exclusively. The water is se- 
cured from a community irrigation ditch, a local stream, 
or an open or driven well. Sometimes engine-driven 
pumps are used to raise the water and impound it in reser- 
voirs, from which it is distributed upon the land by gravity. 
In humid regions gravity irrigation is used somewhat, also, 
but the pressure or overhead spray system finds greater 
favor. Subirrigation, in which the water is applied be- 
neath the surface through lines of tile, is not in common 
use, as it requires special conditions for success. 

Land used for gravity irrigation should have a grade 
suflScient to move the water slowly, yet not be so steep 
that the soil will wash. A grade of two inches in a hundred 

Plate V. Irrigation. — Top, before setting, at San Diego, Cali- 
fornia ; center, contour irrigation. Hood River, Oregon ; bottom, double 
rows on an irrigation ridge, Watsonville, California. 

Tillage and Irrigation 77 

feet is suflScient, but a grade of three and three-fourths 
inches in one hundred feet is permissible. Hillsides may 
be irrigated by running the furrows on contour lines, 
but this is an added expense and inconvenience (Plate V). 
A grade of six inches to a rod can be used in hillside irri- 
gation if the flow of water is small. It is important that 
the water shall not come into direct contact with the 
vines or berries while the sun shines; this would cause 
scald. Bring the land to an even grade, otherwise the 
high places will be too dry and the low places too wet. 

Methods of applying water. 

On medium loams, irrigation is commonly by means 
of temporary furrows, laid off between the rows with a 
plow or scooter, and level culture practiced. Where 
the soil is rather heavy, as in the Pajaro Valley, California, 
the land is thrown into beds or ridges fifteen to eighteen 
inches wide, four to five inches high, and two feet 
apart. These irrigation ridges are made by throw- 
ing two furrows together and leveling with a drag. In 
seasons of heavy rains they provide surface drainage, 
as well. A row of strawberries is set on each edge of the 
ridge. The beds are high enough so that water does 
not touch the fruit. The water furrow is used to walk 
in, so as not to compact the soil around the plants. In 
Texas, double-row ridges are two feet wide and eight 
to twelve inches above the bottom of the water furrow. 
The distance between ridges is about three feet; this 
interval is tilled after irrigations. In southern California 
the plants are set fifteen to eighteen inches apart on low 
single-row ridges. The water may be turned into al- 
ternate furrows during the ripening season, so that one 
will be dry for pickers. 

78 Strawherry-Grovnng 

When the soil is so sandy or coarse-grained that water 
does not rise to the top of the ridge by capillary action, 
it is necessary to reverse the method. The plants are 
set in double rows about two feet apart and a low bank, 
or levee, is made on each side, with soil drawn up from 
the middles. The narrow strip thus enclosed is irri- 
gated by flooding when the sun is not shining. When 
strawberries are trained in hills or hedge-rows, they are 
set in double rows, eighteen to twenty-four inches apart, 
and the irrigation furrow is run down the middle of each 
pair of rows. This leaves the interspaces dry for tillage 
and picking. If the rows are two and a half or three 
feet apart, the plants are set in single rows and there is one 
water furrow in each middle ; if the interspace is wider, a 
water furrow is made on each side of every row. 

Water is conveyed to various parts of the field through 
small ditches or flumes. Flumes are made of boards 
about ten inches wide and twelve feet long (Plate VI), 
A square flume is made by nailing together three boards, 
braced by strips across the top ; V-shaped flumes, made 
of two boards, are used for a small flow of water. The 
flumes are laid upon low trusses or square blocks of wood. 
An inch auger hole is bored close to the bottom of the 
flume, opposite the middle of each row. Corks, wooden 
buttons or tin gates are used to close the hole when the 
water is not needed. Enough water should be diverted 
at one point to run quickly the entire length of the row, 
but no farther. The lateral ditches or flumes should be 
so distributed that the irrigation furrows will be short, 
usually not over 400 feet ; if too long, the water does not 
run to the end quickly enough and the plants near the 
flume get too much water, while those at the end do not 
get enough. 

Tillage and Irrigation 79 

How often to irrigate. 

The effective and economical use of water is an art 
learned only by experience ; book directions are of little 
value. The amount of water to use depends primarily on 
the annual rainfall of the locality and its distribution dur- 
ing the year; also, to a considerable extent, on the na- 
ture of the soil. At Watsonville, California, the annual 
rainfall is thirty inches, yet so little of this falls during 
the growing season that strawberries are irrigated every 
ten to fourteen days. Near San Diego, California, which 
is cloudless most of the year, strawberries are irrigated 
every three or four days throughout the protracted pick- 
ing season of six to eight months. There are few localities 
where it is necessary to irrigate more often than once in 
two weeks, except while the fruit is ripening, when it is 
customary to irrigate as soon as possible after each pick- 
ing, so that the soil will be dry for the next picking. 
Usually, irrigation is discontinued in the fall, about the 
time that strawberry-growers in humid regions lay by 
their fields. Where plants suffer from winter injury, an 
irrigation of two or three inches in late fall, just before 
the ground freezes, may be an advantage, as winter in- 
jury is most serious when the ground is dry. 

Irrigation does not make tillage unnecessary. The 
ditches frequently get foul with weeds, and weed seeds 
are carried to the land in the irrigation water. More- 
over, the soil needs to be stirred to prevent it from crust- 
ing, to promote aeration and to check evaporation. 
Except during the picking season, the middles should 
be cultivated after each irrigation. The most successful 
growers maintain soil moisture as far as possible with 
tillage and irrigate only enough to supplement this 
natural supply. 

80 Strawberry-Growing 


The distinction between humid, semi-arid and arid 
regions is wholly arbitrary. A region having an annual 
rainfall of twenty inches or more is generally regarded 
as humid, provided this is well distributed throughout 
the year; if so, all ordinary farm crops can be grown. 
Usually, however, the rainfall is not well distributed ; 
some months may be practically rainless. Under these 
conditions, supplemental irrigation may be profitable as 
an insurance against drought. The Hood River Valley, 
with an annual rainfall of thirty inches, illustrates the 
value of supplemental irrigation in a humid region. The 
summers of the Atlantic states, where commercial straw- 
berry-growing is highly developed in connection with 
trucking, frequently are marked by protracted droughts. 
These may be so severe that most of the leaves die and 
the plants become practically dormant. When rains 
come the plants revive, produce a second crop of blossoms, 
and a fall crop is harvested. 

Irrigation experiments in humid regions. 

Experiments have yielded conflicting results, as might 
be expected in view of the unstable factors involved. 
In Wisconsin, marked benefit was secured from irri- 
gation in 1894 and 1895.^ In Missouri, the yield was 
increased six times in dry seasons. The test of irrigation, 
however, is not how much it will benefit the crop in a 
single dry year, but whether it will pay over a series of 
years. In 1901 the New Jersey Experiment Station 
concluded : " Combining the results of four seasons, irri- 
gation has given a small increase in early yield only. 

1 Kept. Wis. Exp. Sta., 1894, pp. 332-7. 

Plate VI. Iuuigation. — Top, nursery piped for overhead sprin- 
kling irrigation ; center, irrigation ridges, Pajaro Valley, California ; bottom, 
irrigation flume, Tropico, California. 

Tillage and Irrigation 81 

The total yield of the irrigated plot was no greater than 
that of the unirrigated. The increase in early pickings 
was not sufficient to pay for the irrigation." ^ 

It is doubtful whether irrigation in humid regions will 
pay under jfield conditions unless the water can be applied 
at little expense. In most cases it is more feasible to 
increase the water-holding capacity of the soil by adding 
humus and to prevent the loss of soil water by maintaining 
a protecting mulch of stirred soil or straw. When straw- 
berries are grown under intensive market-garden culture, 
irrigation may be practicable, especially if in rotation 
with other crops that are benefited by irrigation. A 
number of strawberry nurserymen have installed irri- 
gation plants, with profitable returns. 

Special difficulties. 

Irrigation in humid regions presents special difficulties. 
Chief of these is the necessity for good drainage. It is 
easy to water-log a soil by irrigation unless it is well 
drained naturally or is underlaid with tile drains. Another 
difficulty is the extreme care that is necessary to secure 
firm berries ; over-irrigation gives soft berries. For this 
reason, some growers irrigate only during the first sum- 
mer, so as to encourage the development of strong plants, 
and do not use water during the fruiting year. Irriga- 
tion is more likely to be practicable in home gardens and 
in market gardens near large cities than where the fruit 
is shipped a long distance. A serious difficulty, in 
many cases, is the cost of water. In arid regions irriga- 
tion usually is a community enterprise, thus reducing 
the cost to the individual. In humid regions it is, nec- 
essarily, a private enterprise. 

» Rept. N. J. Exp. Sta., 1901, p. 234. 


82 Strawberry-Groimng 

Furrow system. 

Surface or gravity irrigation by means of furrows is 
the cheapest method when feasible. Surface irrigation 
requires that the land be brought to a uniform grade 
and all hollows filled. In arid regions the subsoil usually 
is like the surface soil and no harm is done by grading. 
In humid regions the subsoil usually is quite different 
from and frequently inferior to the surface soil. Grading 
may seriously injure the field, temporarily at least. 
Land with a uniform, gentle slope is essential for furrow 
irrigation in a humid region. 

Overhead pipe, pressure or sprinkling system. 

The overhead pipe system of irrigation finds favor 
among market-gardeners. The water is applied from 
pipes, under a pressure of fifteen to forty pounds. Usually 
it is pumped directly into the system, not to a reservoir. 
The mains are laid in the ground 300 to 400 feet apart. 
They should be smaller at the end of the line than at the 
beginning, so as to maintain a uniform pressure. Smaller 
laterals, 150 to 200 feet long, are run from these, spaced 
forty to fifty feet apart. The laterals are carried on posts 
seven to eight feet high, so as to permit horse tillage 
beneath (Plate VI). 

The laterals may be level, but a slight fall is preferable. 
They are fitted with small brass nozzles, placed three 
to four feet apart in a straight line. These throw a spray 
twenty to thirty feet. The laterals are attached to the 
main with an adjustable union, which permits them to 
be rotated so as to direct the spray first on one side, then 
on the other, thus covering a strip forty to fifty feet wide. 
The turning can be done by hand, or with a hydraulic 
oscillator. This connection also permits the spray to be 

Tillage and Irrigation 83 

thrown high or low, according to the direction and velocity 
of the wind and how far it should carry. 

The water is turned on only between four p.m. and 
nine a.m., or on cloudy days; if applied while the sun 
is shining, much of it is lost by evaporation and the leaves 
and berries are scalded. From three to seven hours are 
needed for each sprinkling, so as to apply at least one- 
half inch of water, preferably more. When the water is 
turned on, the field appears to be covered with a heavy fog. 

If a town water supply under pressure is not available, it 
is necessary to pump water from a stream, spring or well. 
A three and one-half horsepower engine is needed to pump 
water for a single acre, an eight horsepower for four acres 
and a twenty-five horsepower for twenty acres. The cost 
of installing equipment for overhead irrigation is $85 to 
$200 an acre (not including the pumping plant and the 
mains) . After it is installed there is practically no expense 
except for pumping, and the equipment lasts many years. 

For humid regions overhead irrigation has several 
distinct advantages over gravity irrigation. It permits 
the ground to be occupied completely with plants. This 
is the main reason why it is preferred by market-gardeners 
and truckers. Furthermore, it can be used on any type 
of land, whether level or sloping, and no preliminary 
grading is needed. It does not pack or puddle the soil. 
After once installed the upkeep is much cheaper than in 
surface irrigation and it is more convenient to operate. 
The overhead system is economical of water; gravity 
irrigation is quite wasteful of water. Some growers 
have found overhead sprinkling useful for warding off 
light frosts. On the other hand, the expense of installa- 
tion is so heavy as to make this method impracticable 
except on land under intensive cultivation. 



Fruit-growers do not agree on the best method of 
shaping the top of a fruit-tree, so as to space its bearing 
surface most effectively. There is even less unanimity 
on the training of the strawberry plant. The object in 
this case is to determine the most suitable distance between 
different plants, rather than to distribute different parts 
of the same plant; but the problem is essentially the 
same — to space the fruit-bearing surface so as to secure 
the largest return from the land occupied. The strawberry 
adapts itself to such diverse climates and cultural ideals 
that uniformity of practice in training cannot be expected. 


There has been lack of definiteness in referring to the 
different methods of training. Several have been known 
by more than one name. 

Hill, or stool. 

In hill training, the plants are not allowed to set any 
runners ; these are cut or pulled off as they appear. Hill 
plants become very large and have many crowns. This 
is due to the branching of the main stem from adventitious 
buds; it is the common result of heavy pruning with 
nearly all kinds of plants. Sometimes two rows of hill 


Training the Plant 85 

plants are set six to eighteen inches apart, with a wider 
interval for tillage between pairs of rows. This double 
row or twin row is used merely for convenience in tillage 
and is not distinct from hill training. 


The plants are set eighteen inches to two feet apart in 
the row, the rows two and a half to three feet apart, if for 
horse tillage, and two feet apart for hand tillage. Two or 
more runners from each mother plant are aligned in the 

row; these are set by hand. Sometimes but one runner 
is set on each side of the mother plant and six to nine 
inches from it. A runner from this maiden plant may be 
set in the space between the mother plants. All runners 
thrown out subsequently by the mother plants and by 
these hand-set layers are removed. The result at the end 
of the season is a row of large plants, six to ten inches apart. 
This is a single hedge-row (Fig. 3). When another row is 
formed on one side of this, taking runners either from the 
mother plants or from the maiden plants or both, the result 
is a double hedge-row. This method is not used to any 
extent. When a row is formed on each side of the mother 
plants the result is a triple hedge-row (Fig. 4) ; some have 
called this the " double hedge-row " and others the " triple 
The triple hedge-row is formed by bedding four runners 



from each mother plant, two in the row between the mother 
plants and one on each side of the mother plant and op- 
posite to it. Then one runner is layered from each of these 
four in order to complete the outside rows. Occasionally 

Fig. 4. — Triple hedge-row. (Sometimes called double hedge-row.) 

it is made by bedding but two runners from each mother 
plant ; these are set at an angle so as to make two outside 
rows. Again, if the mother plants have been set far apart 
and the variety has short- jointed runners, four runners 
may be bedded from every plant like an X, the mother 
plant being in the center. The distinguishing feature of 

Fig. 5. — Spaced row. 

this method is that there are one, two or three rows of 
aligned and spaced hand-set plants. 

Spaced row. 

This differs from the triple hedge-row chiefly in the 
matter of alignment (Fig. 5). No attempt is made to keep 

Training the Plant 87 

the plants in line. Runners are layered all around the 
mother plants, and spaced approximately equidistant, so as 
to fully occupy the ground. If no runners are set from 
these maiden plants, the result is "cart wheel training," 
which was practiced by J, INI. Smith of Green Bay, Wiscon- 
sin, forty years ago ; the mother plant is the hub and the 
runners radiating from it are the spokes. More frequently 
two or three runners from each maiden plant are hand- 
set, until the entire space between the mother plants has 
been filled with layers about five or six inches apart ; after 
this, all runners are removed. The result is a row twelve 
to fifteen inches wide, the plants not aligned but quite 
uniformly spaced. This is sometimes called a narrow 
matted row, but is quite distinct from that method. 

Matted row. 

This differs from the preceding method in that the 
runners are not bedded by hand ; for the most part, they 
are allowed to form and take root at will and no attempt 
is made to regulate the distance between plants. The 
number of runners and the width of the row may be regu- 
lated by the use of runner cutters or tillage tools while 
they are forming ; or the plants may be thinned and the 
rows narrowed after the runners have set. The most 
vital point in strawberry training — the distance between 
individual plants, is not regulated ; the runners mat or 
root where they happen to strike. The matted row is 
"wide" or "narrow." These are relative terms; gener- 
ally speaking, rows under fifteen inches wide are called 

There are gradations between the spaced row and the 
matted row. Frequently the first runners may be set by 
hand but subsequent runners allowed to root at will, up 

88 Strawberry-Growing 

to a certain point. Usually, however, spacing in the 
matted row is secured not by bedding the runners as they 
appear but by thinning the plants in late summer or fall 
after they have rooted. 

Broadcast, or matted bed. 

This term is used to designate complete absence of 
runner restriction. In the wide matted row, it is cus- 
tomary to leave a narrow unoccupied strip between each 
pair of rows, to serve as a path for the pickers and to 
provide partial tillage. In broadcast training, the runners 
are allowed to cover the entire ground and are not thinned, 
so that they make a dense mat of plants over the entire 
surface. This method now is seldom used. 

More strawberries now are grown in narrow matted 
rows than any other method of training, especially in 
Canada and northern and central United States. Florida, 
the southern part of the Gulf states and the Pacific coast 
are the strongholds of hill training; but even in these 
sections hedge-rows and spaced rows are gaining in favor. 
While each method has advantages for certain conditions, 
the steady drift away from unrestricted and unspaced 
runners is significant. 


The best method of training is that which most perfectly 
fits the climate, soil, variety and method of culture. 


Where the ground freezes deeply and there are extremes 
of temperatures in rapid succession, especially in early 
spring, hill or hedge-row plants are more likely to suffer by 

Training the Plant 89 

heaving than matted row or spaced row plants. Large 
plants with many crowns are not anchored as deeply and 
firmly in the soil as small plants. If fruited more than one 
season they tend to rise out of the ground, because new 
roots start higher on the stems; this favors injury from 
heaving. In a matted row, the roots permeate the entire 
surface soil and hold it so that there is less heaving. 
Plants in the matted row protect one another to some 
extent. The regions in which hill training is common 
have a mild climate and deep freezing is unknown. The 
more severe the climate the less advantageous it is to grow 
large, isolated plants. Plants in hills suffer more from 
frost than plants in matted rows, as the blossoms are not 
as well protected by the foliage. In a mild, humid climate 
which is conducive to a rank growth of weeds, even during 
the winter, as on the North Pacific coast, hill or hedge- 
row training is most practicable because it permits tillage 
close to every plant. Conversely, in the semi-arid sections 
of North Dakota, where there is no water for irrigation, 
hedge-row training is practiced so as to be able to till 
most of the ground. Hill plants suffer more from drought 
than hedge-row or spaced row plants. This is partly 
because they are rooted higher in the soil; but chiefly 
because a single hill plant, bearing a quart of berries, 
requires as much water as a dozen smaller plants occupy- 
ing the same area, but cannot get it as readily since its 
roots are not so well distributed. Still another climatic 
influence is observed in Florida and the southern part of 
the Gulf states. There it is necessary to isolate each 
plant in order that the low winter sun may strike all 
around it, and color the berries, which ripen very slowly at 
that time of the year; in matted rows the fruit ripens 
very poorly and moulds. 

90 Strawberry-Growing 


On rich, heavy soils plants are viney ; on light soils of 
average fertility the same variety makes only a moderate 
number of runners. There is more necessity for restrict- 
ing runners on clay soils than on sandy loams. The rela- 
tion of richness of soil to method of training is considered 
on page 30. 


Hill or hedge-row training is most successful with 
varieties that normally make large, compact plants, set 
few runners and produce fruit of large size. Sharpless, 
Triomphe, Jessie, Marshall and Parker Earle are examples. 
In the Pacific Northwest, where hill training is preferred for 
Magoon and most other varieties, many find it best to 
grow Gandy, Glen Mary and Aroma in single hedge-rows, 
setting one runner from each plant. In 1900 and 1901 
the New Jersey Experiment Station compared thirty-five 
varieties under hill and matted row training. Eleven gave 
heavier yields under hill training, the increase being 1000 
to 6000 quarts an acre. Other varieties yielded about the 
same under both methods, while still others bore heavier 
in matted rows than hills, a few nearly twice as much.^ 
This point should be considered in variety testing. 

Varieties that make a superabundance of runners, as 
the Crescent, cannot be kept in hills to advantage; the 
expense of runner cutting is too heavy. Certain of the 
everbearing varieties, as Pan American and Autumn, 
bear fruit in the fall only on the mother plants and not on 
the runners of that season ; these should be kept in hills. 
In everbearing varieties that have Louis Gautier blood in 
them, as Francis and Americus, the young runners begin 

» Repts. N. J. Exp. Sta., 1900, pp. 234-7; 1901, p. 235. 

Training the Plant 91 

to bear as soon as they are rooted ; these may be grown 
to advantage in matted rows. 

Method of culture. 

If growing strawberries under intensive culture for a 
near market, spaced rows or hills may be more profitable 
than matted rows ; when catering to the general market 
and producing fruit in large quantity, the reverse may be 
true. Hill and hedge-row training are preferred by 
market-gardeners who enrich the soil very liberally and 
cater to a special trade which demands fancy berries. 

The labor required properly to care for the plants under 
the different methods of training also should be considered. 
One man may be able to care for five acres trained in 
narrow matted rows easier than one acre trained in hills. 
Three acres is about as much as one man can take care 
of properly in hills under intensive culture; this may 
represent a larger investment of time and money than 
twenty acres under average field culture. Each man has 
to decide what degree of intensive or extensive culture 
will be most practicable for him and then select a mode of 
training that will produce the grade of fruit that his 
market prefers. 


Hill training. 

In the East, this method is commonly associated with 
the most intensive home garden or market-garden culture. 
On the high-priced market-garden land near Boston, hill 
training has been practiced for over a century. The 
plants are set in beds one foot apart each way, four rows 
to a bed, with a path two feet wide between beds. This 

92 Strawberry-Growing 

requires 35,000 plants to the acre, which is a large initial 
outlay. Heavy manuring and fertilizing are necessary 
and tillage is with the wheel hoe. The beds are fruited 
but one year, as a rule. Gross sales of $1000 an acre are 
not uncommon. This method is not practicable except 
when a good local market, where fancy berries command 
a price considerably above the average, is accessible. 

Theoretically, it is possible to secure much larger yields 
to the acre from plants grown in hills than in matted 
rows; practically, the spaced row or hedge-row usually 
outyield hills. Strong hill plants set at this distance 
should produce a pint to a quart to the plant, giving a 
possible yield of 35,000 quarts an acre. It is seldom, 
however, that a yield of over 20,000 quarts an acre is 
reported. The berries from well-grown hill plants average 
considerably larger than those from plants trained in 
other waj's. 

In recent years a method sometimes called the " Kevitt 
system" has had much publicity. It has been described 
as follows ^ : " Mark out beds four feet apart ; path be- 
tween each bed one foot nine inches wide ; set out plants 
in the four-foot beds one foot apart each way. This will 
give you five plants to each row. Keep young runners 
cut off as fast as they grow. Each season when plants are 
through bearing earth should be ridged around each plant 
as you would corn, taking it from the paths, thus giving 
each plant some new soil near the old crowns where the 
roots start from. Plants will continue to bear fruit year 
after year in the same bed without renewing; that is, 
the original plants may be retained. On my farm may be 
seen Glen Mary plants nine years old still yielding a full 
crop each season." Kevitt applies thirty tons of manure 

1 1910 Catalog of T. C. Kevitt, Athenia, N. J. 

Plate VII. — A hill plant, showing us numerous crowns. These are 
branches of the main stem resulting from cutting off the runners. Hill' 
plants require heavy fertilizing and, in the North, careful mulching. 
This method of training is more practicable in the South and on the 
Pacific coast than in the North. 

Training the Plant 93 

to the acre and sets strong layer plants in August and early 
September. This is, of course, not a new " system," but 
merely a slight variation of the hill training practiced 
years ago by C. M. Hovey, John Knox, Peter Henderson 
and going back for several centuries. It requires a pro- 
digious amount of labor and is a heavy expense. It is a 
special method for a special purpose. Most persons who 
try it fail because they begin with too large an area. 
An acre is enough to keep one man busy the first season. 

Matted rows. 

Broadcast training has practically disappeared from 
North America. The wide matted row, which often ap- 
proaches broadcast training in effect, is used occasionally. 
The vicinity of Norfolk, Virginia, is now about the only 
important shipping district in which the runners are 
practically unrestricted. There are special reasons why 
this method has retained popularity there. The plants 
are commonly set in April between rows of a companion 
crop of potatoes, cabbages or other truck crop. This 
makes the rows of strawberries about six feet apart. The 
winters are very mild and weed growth, especially chick- 
weed, is almost continuous ; the growers assert that clean 
tillage with narrow matted rows would be too expensive. 
Again, there is much danger of late spring frosts ; these 
make the investment so uncertain that the growers are 
convinced it will not pay to expend more in restrict- 
ing the runners. Earliness is the chief factor in the 
profit of the Norfolk crop. The wide matted rows 
bear fruit several days earlier than narrow matted or 
spaced rows and the fruit is somewhat firmer, though 
smaller and of poorer color. Moreover, there is less need 
for mulching; the stand of plants is full and they are 

94 Strawberry-Growing 

usually accompanied by a thick growth of crab-grass and 
other weeds. The runners are allowed to spread at will, 
often matting into rows five feet wide, and practically 
covering the entire surface. The Norfolk method seems 
very crude, yet it is apparently well adapted for the condi- 
tions prevailing there. The aim of the trucker is to secure 
the largest total profit for the season from all crops in the 
rotation, rather than the largest profit possible from any 
one crop. It is likely, however, that a somewhat larger 
degree of runner restriction and weed control would be 
profitable. Save in the vicinity of Norfolk, most matted 
rows are narrow — under eighteen inches wide, and with 
a strip of tilled land one and a half to two and a half 
feet wide between rows. 

Given equal care, strawberries in matted rows usually 
outyield hills. At the New York State Experiment 
Station, "The matted rows yielded the largest quantity 
of fruit in every instance." For many years the Pennsyl- 
vania Experiment Station recorded the average size of 
berries under hills, wide matted rows and narrow matted 
rows, finally concluding, "The narrow matted row pro- 
duces the largest and most uniform grade of fruit." 
These results fairly represent general experience through- 
out the North. Immense yields frequently are secured 
from hills, but these are due more to heavy fertilizing and 
intensive culture than to the method of training. Other 
things being equal, each of the numerous crowns on a hill 
plant does not produce as much fruit as it could were it a 
separate plant, occupying a separate bit of soil. The 
narrow matted row and its companion method, the spaced 
row, are firmly established as the most popular North 
American methods of training when heavy yields of high- 
grade berries are sought. 

Training the Plant 95 

Spaced row and hedge-row. 

The effort to effect a compromise between hill and 
matted row training has resulted in hedge-row and spaced 
row training. There is little difference between the triple 
hedge-row and the narrow spaced row, except as regards 
alignment ; the results are identical. A special advantage 
of the hedge-row is observed in harvesting the crop ; most 
of the berries lie in windrows so that the pickers are 
not obliged to hunt for them and can pick more, and 
there is less danger of bruising the fruit. The hedge-row 
admits of tillage very close to the plant. Hedge-row 
training requires constant attention to the bedding and 
removing of runners; this makes it expensive. If the 
runners are allowed to mat before bedding the few that are 
to remain, it is difficult to get a satisfactory row. The 
single hedge-row is open to the objections that have been 
raised against hills as regards winter injury and drouth 
resistance. Hedge-row training is suitable for the more 
intensive types of field culture and the production of fancy 

The spaced row is more economical to form and to main- 
tain than the hedge-row, and the yield is larger. One of 
the first to use the spaced row was J. M. Smith of Green 
Bay, Wisconsin, about 1875. 


In hedge-row and spaced row training, the runners 
are set by hand. Even in matted rows often it is advisable 
to bed the first set of runners that are allowed to remain. 
The strawberry plant tends to throw out most of its run- 
ners from one side, in the same direction that it was 
attached to the mother plant. By bedding runners 

96 Strawberry-Grovdng 

around the plant a more uniform row is secured. Further- 
more, the first runners root with greater difficulty than 
those that appear later ; they are more likely to be blown 

When to begin bedding. 

Some growers remove only the first four or five runners, 
others keep them cut off until midsummer. This con- 
serves the strength of the mother plant, upon which the 
runners would draw heavily for some time, if allowed to 
remain. Many varieties make weak runners early in the 
season and strong runners later. The longer it is possible 
to work close to the mother plant, without being obliged 
to narrow the cultivator on account of runners, the more 
thorough and economical is the tillage. Especially is this 
true in matted-row training ; when runners begin to spread, 
weeds begin to flourish. 

Late bedding, however, has several disadvantages. 
In the North, plants about one year old are thought 
to be more productive than younger plants. Many 
growers in the South are convinced that the opposite is 
true ; they prefer late runners. There is more likely to be 
drouth in July and August than in June ; late bedded 
runners may fail to make a good stand. Some varieties 
throw out few runners during the season if the early ones 
are allowed to root; if kept cut off until midsummer, 
runner production is aggravated. This may be a serious 
objection in matted row training. 

The best practice depends on local climate and the 
variety. If the locality is visited more frequently with 
drouth in June than in August, late bedding may be more 
successful. The runners may be kept off strong-running 
varieties later than would be feasible with moderate plant- 

Training the Plant 97 

makers. Some sorts, as the Clyde, make plants early in 
the season and few in late summer ; others, as the Warfield, 
make plants quite uniformly throughout the season. 
Mother plants should not be allowed to support runners 
until well established. When early bedding is desired, 
prompt removal of the flower-stalks as soon as they appear 
will encourage early runner-making. 

Methods of bedding. 

In humid regions, runners root easily. It is possible to 
handle the cultivator so skillfully that it will cover the 
tips of runners lightly with soil. All that may be necessary 
is to place a small stone, clod, piece of sod or handful of 
soil on the runner cord, just back of the growing tip. If 
small roots have appeared, press the tips into the soil, and 
hold the runner cord in place with soil or gravel. In dry 
weather and in arid regions it is necessary to bed runners 
to be sure of a full stand. In the prairie regions, strong 
winds blow them about; it is essential to hold them 
firmly in place. Sometimes an inverted crotched stick 
is used for this purpose. 

F. G. Tice, of New York, gives the following advice: 
"Bedding the runners is done astride the row, using a 
home-made tool. Train runners in front of the plant, 
as the bedder is working, to the left ; train those behind 
the plant to the right. This prevents the bunching of 
runners and allows the extra plants to run out into the 
alleys, where they are cut off." The bedding tool is a piece 
of hoop iron fashioned like a wide putty knife. A slit is 
made in the ground, the tip is thrust into this and the soil 
pressed around it. Runners from weak mother plants 
should not be bedded ; use runners from adjacent strong 
mother plants. The time required depends somewhat 



on the variety ; Crescent and Dunlap root readily ; Mar- 
shall and Bubach do not. One man can bed 5000 to 
10,000 tips a day. 

Distance between bedded plants. 

This is determined by the method of training, the va- 
riety, the strength of the soil and the distance between 
mother plants. Up to a certain point, yield as well as 
quality is increased by wider spacing ; beyond this point 
the yield decreases, although the individual berries 
may be larger. The relation between the stand of 
plants in a matted row and the yield to the acre is 
shown in experiments reported by H. F. Hall, of New 
Hampshire : ^ 

Yield as Affected by Distance between Plants 

No. I Berries 

Total Yield 

Sample 3 inches apart . . 
Sample 6 inches apart . . 
Sample 8 inches apart . . 
Brandywine 3 inches apart 
Brand ywine 6 inches apart 
Brandywine 8 inches apart 
Glen Mary 3 inches apart 
Glen Mary 6 inches apart 
Glen Mary 8 inches apart 

3521 qts. 
8028 qts. 
6796 qts. 
1609 qts. 
4810 qts. 
4963 qts. 
3458 qts. 
6615 qts. 
5182 qts. 

5667 qts. 
9680 qts. 
7836 qts. 
2922 qts. 
5753 qts. 
5387 qts. 
5812 qts. 
7823 qts. 
6370 qts. 

The point of diminishing returns may be four inches under 
one set of conditions and eight inches, or more, under 
another. In this case it was about six inches. 

' Bui. 137, N. H. Exp. Sta. (1908), p. 161. 

Training the Plant 99 


This is the most laborious task in strawberry-growing 
and the one most commonly neglected. There are two 
methods of handling surplus runners; to treat them as 
weed parasites and remove them as soon as they appear, 
or to let them root and then remove them in the autumn. 
The first method conserves the strength of the remaining 
plants, and is preferable except in matted row training. 

Controlling the width of the matted row. 

There are two distinct problems ; to keep the plants in 
narrow rows, so that the inter-spaces may be tilled effec- 
tively ; and to prevent the plants in the row from setting 
too close. These are conflicting purposes; the method 
that is most effective for restricting the width of the row 
— frequent use of the cultivator — throws the runners 
back upon the mother plants and results in crowding 
within the row. G. L. Perrine, of Illinois, advises : " Avoid 
the crowded matted row by spreading the row very rapidly. 
When the plants begin to form, instead of crowding them 
together with the cultivator, we allow the row to widen 
rapidly ; then if it gets too wide, simply cut it down with 
the cultivator or disk." This method, however, precludes 
thorough tillage in a period when weeds grow rapidly 
and drouth is imminent. 

If the runners are not bedded, the cultivator may be 
used to throw them around in a line with the row. The 
cultivator should be run the same way at each working 
so that there will be less danger of pulling up the partially- 
rooted runners. After the space between the mother 
plants is filled, the cultivator is run a little farther from 
the plant at each working. 

100 Strawberry-Growing 

After the matted row is wide enough the real fight begins 
— to keep it from spreading into the alleys and to prevent 
crowding within the row. Various types of tools are used 
to cut off alley plants. If the land is not stony, a rolling 
plow coulter, about ten inches in diameter, may be 
attached with clips to each side of the cultivator. Several 
patented runner-cutters are made ; most of these are sharp, 
revolving disks. There is also a knife device which is 
attached to the frame of the cultivator. The runner 
cutter may be attached to a hand wheel hoe rather than 
to a cultivator. These tools do fairly good work but may 
cut off leaves, pull up the mother plants and occasionally 
cut off roots. A sharp hoe, and frequent recourse to hand 
pinching and cutting with shears or knife often are more 
satisfactory methods. 

Spacing plants in the matted row. 

While this struggle to limit the width of the row has 
been going on, an even more strenuous fight has been in 
progress within the row. The ru"nners thrown back by 
the cultivator take root and produce more runners. The 
mother plants continue to make runners. If the variety 
is prolific of plants, they soon fill all the space. The 
plants compete with one another for light and food ; many 
are starved and shaded to death. The advantage of a 
narrow row now becomes apparent ; the larger the propor- 
tion of outside plants, adjacent to the tilled area, the 
higher the average of size and vigor. This observation, 
carried a step farther, leads to the spaced row. 

Spacing of plants in the matted row is secured either by 
cutting off the surplus runners by hand as they appear, or 
by fall thinning. The first method is too tedious and 
expensive except for varieties which make few runners. 

Training the Plant 101 

In most cases it is best to wait until fall to thin the rows. 
A toothed implement is dragged across the rows, not 
lengthways, to draw the weak runners into the alleys. 
This is done when the growing season is drawing to a close ; 
in September or October, according to the locality. Run- 
ners formed after that time are winter-killed. Weak run- 
ners are uprooted and pulled off. An iron rake or five-tined 
potato digger are used. Fall thinning by hand costs eight 
to ten dollars an acre, which is less than the same results 
could have been secured for by cutting off the runners dur- 
ing the growing season. In large operations, a spike- 
toothed harrow or weeder is dragged over the bed each 
way. There are so many uprooted plants that the field 
may look ruined. Many of these are not pulled off, but 
dry out and winter-kill. 

Another method is to cut out part of each row with a 
hoe or plow. A hoe with a short blade about three inches 
wide is drawn squarely across the row, cutting off all plants. 
Then a space of the same width is left, then another 
strip of plants is removed, and so on. In case of severe 
crowding the row may be thinned by checking with a light, 
one-horse turning plow or single shovel. Furrows are 
turned across the rows every three feet. The middle of 
each row is then split lengthways, which leaves the field 
in checks about three feet square. It is then harrowed 
both ways. By this time the field looks like a seed-bed, 
but the crop harvested the following spring may justify this 
heroic treatment. Part of the benefit is due to the control 
of winter weeds. Fall thinning with the plow is practiced 
most commonly in the South, especially in Missouri and 
Arkansas; thinning with the rake or harrow is more 
satisfactory in the North. 

Fall thinning is gaining in favor. Few growers who have 

102 Strawberry-Growing 

a large acreage in the narrow matted row are able to keep 
all the superfluous runners cut off during the growing 
season, as this involves so much labor. Fall thinning is 
the next best plan, if done with judgment. In dry seasons, 
when the mother plants have set comparatively few 
runners, fall thinning may not be desirable. In wet 
seasons, when the runners are badly crowded, it may make 
a decided difference in the crop. The thinnings that are 
well rooted can be used for fall planting, or heeled in for 
spring planting. 

Runner control in hills, hedge-rows and spaced rows. 

In those methods of training which attempt to maintain 
a definite number of plants, equally spaced, the problem is 
simpler. After the permanent plants are bedded, it is 
necessary merely to cut off all other runners as they appear. 
This is easy to advise but quite laborious to practice. 
Most sorts throw out many runners throughout the season 
and require almost constant attention. When plants are 
fruited four or five years, which is quite common in hill 
training, there are fewer runners after the second season. 

There can be no recourse to fall thinning in hill and 
hedge-row training. If surplus runners are suffered to 
remain, they defeat the chief object of these methods of 
training, which is to have but few plants and remove these 
from competition with others of their kind. When the 
spaced row is full, alley plants can be cut off with a roller 
cutter, and late-formed runners removed with an iron 
rake ; but most of the surplus runners must be pulled by 
hand. In most of Canada and northern United States 
it is not necessary to remove runners formed after Septem- 
ber first, as they are winter-killed. 

If runners are cut before they have tipped, the formation 

Training the Plant 103 

of fruiting crowns is encouraged. In an experiment by 
U. Dammer, six rows of Sharpless of fifty plants each were 
used ; one row had all runners removed weekly ; from the 
next row runners were removed every two weeks ; from 
the last row every six weeks. Row one produced 916 
berries, row six 482 berries. The experiment indicated 
that by removing the runners as soon as they appear, the 
number of fruit stalks is increased but the season of ripen- 
ing is delayed somewhat.'^ This accords with general 
experience ; matted rows are several days earlier than hills 
or hedge-rows of the same variety. If the runner is cut 
close, between the first joint and the parent plant, it is 
destroyed; if cut beyond the joint, a new plant may 
form at that point. One reason why rolling runner- 
cutters are not more effective is because they do not cut 
close enough. 

Runners sometimes are removed most advantageously 
by pulling or pinching. The work should be done fre- 
quently, before the cords get tough. If several are jerked 
off together, the roots of the mother plant may be dis- 
turbed. Many prefer to use a knife or shears ; a sharp hoe 
is serviceable also . Where the fruiting season is protracted , 
as in California, runners are pinched when picking or hoe- 

There are several special devices for cutting runners on 
hill plants ; these can be used to some advantage on hedge- 
rows also. The circular dropper has been in use since 
1869 and is still most popular, especially on the North 
Pacific coast (Plate IX). This is made of a piece of sheet- 
iron about twenty-eight inches long and six inches wide, 
with one end sharpened. The ends are riveted together, 
making a cylinder about nine inches in diameter. Cyl- 

1 Gard. Chron. 1899, pp. 217-18. 

104 Strawberry-Grovring 

inders may be made in different sizes to fit plants of dif- 
ferent ages; some are made fifteen inches in diameter. 
Two pieces of strip iron are attached to opposite sides of 
the cylinder and extend upward about six inches, joining 
in the center to a handle of wrought iron about three feet 
long, with a wooden cross piece at the top. The cutter 
is plunged down over the plant ; a single stroke severs all 
runners if the cutting edge is kept sharp. Occasionally 
the dropper is made in a semicircle. 

Other tj-pes of runner-cutters are used occasionally. 
A brush scythe, twelve to fourteen inches long and hanging 
straight, is used somewhat in the Puget Sound district. 
It clips off the outer leaves as well as the runners. There 
are several tools that have iron fingers that automatically 
gather up the runners and draw them under knives ; these 
have not proved practical. C. S. Pratt of Reading, 
Massachusetts, uses two wheels with knife edges, spaced 
fourteen inches apart on an axle. The edges are drilled 
on so that they can be taken off and sharpened. This is 
pushed over the hill or hedge-row, and cuts off runners on 
two sides about seven inches from the center of the plant. 
Then it is used in the opposite direction and cuts the run- 
ners on the other two sides. It weighs sixty pounds, so 
that it cuts much better than the ordinary light roller 
cutter that is attached to a cultivator. 

The mother plant produces more runners than any one 
of her progeny. It has been advocated, therefore, that 
in matted row or spaced row training, the mother plants 
be dug out as soon as enough runners are established, so 
as to avoid the necessity of removing the runners made 
by them during the remainder of the season. If the season 
is wet and the layers quickly become independent of the 
parent plant, this might be done to advantage ; but if the 

Training the Plant 105 

season is dry, it may seriously weaken the layers, which 
are partly supported by the mother plant long after they 
are apparently well rooted. 

Summer pruning. 

Runner control has reference to the distance between 
individual plants. This is spacing rather than pruning, 
although the constant removal of runners from plants is, 
in effect, severe pruning. Beyond this, pruning of the 
individual plant is rarely necessary, except mowing the 
old leaves after the crop is harvested, preparatory to a re- 
newal of the bed. Yet there are occasions when summer 
pruning is advisable, chiefly in regions having a mild 
climate and where the fruiting season is prolonged. The 
method practiced by the strawberry-growers of Mahablesh- 
var, India, has been described by W. Burns.^ "The 
cultivators have a curious and interesting practice of 
reducing the vegetative growth of the plants in order to 
promote flowering. This is done by taking off leaves and 
their axillary undeveloped shoots twice a month." A 
similar method is followed to some extent in southern 
California. At intervals of a month or more the plants 
are "cleaned up," being denuded of runners, and partially 
defoliated. The check caused by this summer pruning, 
and by the temporary discontinuance of irrigation, gives 
the plants a brief resting period, after which they again 
burst into blossom. 

In the coast region of Oregon, Washington and British 
Columbia the mild climate and abundant rainfall are con- 
ducive to a very luxuriant growth, and some growers 
remove part of the leaves with a scythe in order to check 
growth. About 1860 summer pruning was commonly 

» Agr. Jour, of India, Vol. IX, Pt. Ill (July, 1914). 

lOG Strawberry-Gromng 

practiced in the East on hill plants grown under high 
culture. It was claimed that this gave larger berries and 
that the fruit was sweeter, because it had more sun. 
With the advent of the matted row, interest in summer 
pruning declined. Leaf pruning is still practiced somewhat 
in Florida in order to expose the fruit to the low winter 
sun. Summer pruning of the strawberry is a special 
practice ; in most cases all the leaves should be preserved. 



Strawberries are mulched primarily for two pm-poses, 
— to protect the plants from winter injury and to keep 
the fruit clean. In the North the same mulch is com- 
monly used for both purposes ; in the South a mulch is 
used for protecting the fruit only. These two objects 
are quite distinct, and different methods may be necessary 
to accomplish them. Mulching for the conservation of 
soil water has been discussed in Chapter IV. 

The practice of mulching strawberries is nearly as old 
as the garden culture of this fruit. Some are of the 
opinion that the name of the fruit is derived from the 
ancient practice of laying straw under the ripening 
berries. But little attention was given to mulching in 
North America until after 1870. Many of the early 
cultivators followed the English practice of growing 
strawberries in hills, mulching them heavily with "long 
manure"; but most growers did not mulch at all. The 
Wilson succeeded without mulching, since it was grown 
in thick, matted rows and the beds frequently were kept 
for ten or more years without renewing. About 1865 
John Knox, of Pittsburg, demonstrated the value of 
mulching hill plants of the Jucunda, which led to a more 
general adoption of the practice. Since 1870 mulching 
has steadily grown in favor. 


108 Strawberry-Growing 


Most of the mulching in North America is to secure 
both winter protection and clean fruit. The acreage of 
strawberries in the South that is mulched merely to keep 
the berries clean is small compared with that which is 
mulched for both purposes. Wherever the temperature 
drops to zero or below and the ground freezes to a depth 
of two inches or more, a winter mulch is likely to be profit- 
able, especially on heavy soils. It is commonly used in 
all of Canada, except the Coast region of British Columbia ; 
and in the United States as far south as Virginia, Tennes- 
see and Missouri, also throughoiut the Rocky Mountain 
states. There is very little mulching in the Pacific coast 
states. In Maryland, which is near the southern limit 
of profitable winter mulching, the gain in yield from 
mulching was 475 quarts an acre, as an average of four 
seasons.^ South of the latitude of Washington, D.C., 
it is doubtful whether a winter mulch is desirable, except 
in the mountains, as it harbors crickets and other fruit- 
eating insects, and the plants are likely to be bleached 
in warm weather. 

A winter mulch may be beneficial in four ways. It 
may prevent the plants from heaving, protect them from 
extreme low temperature or drying out, conserve soil 
moisture and smother weeds. It may be used also to 
protect them from frost during the blossoming season; 
this is discussed on page 281. 

Prevents heaving. 

In most cases, winter injury of unmulched plants is 
caused by alternate freezing and thawing, rather than 

1 Bui. 160, Md. Exp. Sta. (1911), pp. 198-9. 

Mulching 109 

by actual low temperature. Both soil and plants are 
expanded and forced upward, since water expands in 
freezing. When the field thaws the soil settles back into 
place, but the plants do not; their roots are torn loose, 
and they may be left upon the surface or with a very in- 
secure hold on the soil. If they are not killed outright, 
the first severe drought finishes them. On clay soils, 
unmulched plants have been lifted six to eight inches 
during a single winter. Heaving is most serious upon 
heavy soils, especially if they are flat and poorly drained ; 
sandy soils and well drained slopes heave very little. 
The more level and clayey the land, the greater the danger 
from heaving. 

A mulch prevents heaving by preserving more equable 
conditions of soil temperature, and by preventing rapid 
thawing. Frozen plants that are thawed slowly, in the 
shade, are less likely to be injured than those that are 
thawed quickly, in the sun. The object of the mulch 
is not to keep the plants from freezing at all, but to 
prevent them from being affected by the frequent 
changes of temperature. In the North, snow is na- 
ture's mulch; if the ground is covered continuously 
with snow until spring there is no heaving. The ne- 
cessity for mulching increases as the permanence of the 
snow blanket lessens. 

Prevents freezing. 

In the prairies of South Dakota, North Dakota, Minne- 
sota and Manitoba, where the winters are very cold and 
dry, with little snow, a winter mulch is necessary to prevent 
the plants from being injured by low temperature. Even 
a dormant plant transpires a small amount of moisture 
every day during the winter. If the tissue of the plant 

110 Strawberry-Growing 

is desiccated, or dry, it is likely to be winter-injured; 
hence, some growers, especially in the Rocky Mountain 
states, saturate the soil with water late in the fall, after 
growth has ceased. A heavy mulch prevents transpira- 
tion from the leaves to a large extent. It may be as cold 
beneath the mulch as above, but the temperature is more 
equable and the loss of the moisture small. If the winter 
mulch is left on in the spring, it conserves soil moisture 
nearly or quite as well as tillage. If thick enough, it 
smothers various winter weeds. These matters are con- 
sidered in the chapter on Tillage. 

Retards the ripening season. 

The berries on unmulched plants ripen several days 
earlier, often more than a week, than mulched plants. 
This is a decided advantage in the Norfolk region, and the 
South generally. It may be a disadvantage in those sec- 
tions of the North that suffer from late spring frosts. 
Mulched plants are late because the mulch keeps them at a 
lower temperature, since all parts are covered. If a straw 
mulch is used, it may be due, in part, to the light color of 
the straw. When only a light mulch is used, the weeds are 
likely to push through it in the spring and give more trouble 
than if the rows had been kept tilled. In those parts of 
the North where it is necessary to use six inches or more 
of mulch, there is danger that some of the plants will 
be smothered. 

Increases danger from frost. 

If a heavy winter mulch is left around the plants dur- 
ing the blossoming season, it may increase the danger of 
injury from frost to a slight extent. W. R. Lazenby of 
Ohio has reported the comparative readings of thermom- 

Mulching 111 

eters placed in a strawberry field, part of which was 
mulched and part unmulched. The temperature was 
found to be from one-half to three and one-half degrees 
lower over the straw than over bare ground ; the readings 
were taken several times before sunrise. He concluded : 
"In some instances there appears to be sufiicient differ- 
ence in temperature to cause a frost on straw, while the 
unmulched portion might escape." Many of the com- 
mon mulching materials are full of weed seeds; this is 
one of the most serious objections to the practice. The 
chief disadvantage of the winter mulch, however, is the 
expense, amounting to five to fifty dollars an acre, ac- 
cording to conditions. More growers are mulching now 
than ever before, which indicates that the advantages 
usually outweigh the disadvantages. 


The choice of mulch material is governed fully as much 
by availability and cost as by adaptation for the purpose. 
If wheat straw costs eight dollars a ton, the grower will 
endeavor to find a cheaper substitute. Any coarse vege- 
table material that will not pack so tightly over the 
plants as to smother them may be used. 


In early years, the winter mulch was commonly of 
strawy horse manure. Manure is so likely to be full of 
the seeds of timothy, clover and various weeds that it is 
rarely used now, except in the home garden or in small 
fields under intensive culture. The weed difficulty may 
be overcome, in part, by securing the manure in early 
summer and turning it over several times before fall. 

112 Strawberry-Growing 

Only strawy manure should be used; a heavy coat of 
fine manure upon the plants might smother them. Work 
the fine part of the manure around the plants and between 
the rows and use the strawy portion, or corn stalks, directly 
over the plants. 


Straw is used for a mulch more than any other material. 
Wheat straw is preferable to oat or barley straw, as it 
usually is threshed cleaner, is freer from weed seeds and 
does not pack down so tightly. Rye straw is least valu- 
able ; it is too long and there is likely to be considerable 
difficulty from re-seeding. Buckwheat straw is excellent. 
All kinds of straw contain cheat, wild barley and other 
seeds, which become serious weeds in the strawberry field. 
Moreover, the scattering kernels of grain in the chaff 
and screenings are likely to grow and cause trouble in 
the spring. Shake out the straw before using it, or fork it 
over a coarse screen to sift out the seeds. Some growers 
prefer old straw for this reason, especially if it has been 
tramped over by stock and made finer. Two to eight 
tons an acre are used, according to the locality. Under 
average conditions in the North two acres of wheat will 
supply straw for one acre of strawberries. 

Corn fodder. 

Corn stalks make an excellent mulch in Minnesota. 
One bundle is laid on each side of the row and a third 
on top of the row. In regions that have a more moderate 
winter, corn stalks are likely to smother the plants unless 
they are cut or shredded. Shredded corn fodder is a 
good mulch, but expensive. It is free from weeds, ex- 
cept of morning glory. It is commonly estimated that 

Mulching 113 

ten acres of corn fodder will mulch two acres of straw- 
berries in the latitude of Ohio. 

Growing a mulch crop. 

When it is necessary to grow a crop especially for 
mulching, the choice usually is sorghum, cowpeas or 
soybeans. Sorghum is sown thickly so late in summer 
that it will not head before frost ; in case it shows a dis- 
position to head it should be cut. If sorghum hay is 
stored under cover it can be used for two seasons. In 
the South, sugar-cane is preferred to sorghum ; it is 
seeded at the rate of two and a half bushels to the acre. 

Corn, sowed broadcast or drilled very thickly about 
midsummer, so that it makes very small stalks like 
sorghum, is about as serviceable. The usual rate of 
seeding is eight to ten pecks an acre. The corn can be 
drilled in where the old strawberry bed has been plowed 
under. If it stands straight, it can be cut and tied into 
bundles with a wheat binder. These bundles are laid 
on the row of strawberry plants lengthways, touching 
each other ; then the strings are cut and the mulch spread 
over the row. If, however, the corn is lodged, it must be 
cut with a mowing machine and handled like hay. In 
Michigan, an acre of corn grown in this way will cover 
two to four acres of strawberries, according to the method 
of training. 

Japanese millet is used somewhat in the North, since 
it can be seeded late, after a crop of potatoes or sweet 
corn, or upon an old strawberry bed. In the irrigated 
regions of the Rocky Mountain states, an alfalfa mulch 
is preferred ; it is comparatively cheap and contains no 
weed seeds. When it is removed in the spring, enough 
leaves remain to keep the berries clean. In the Pacific 

114 Strawberry-Growing 

Northwest, clover hay is used occasionally, especially 
the last fruiting year of the field. Timothy hay is ob- 
jectionable, as it is full of weed seeds, and timothy itself 
is a weed in the strawberry field. 

Other kinds of farm herbage are used occasionally, 
such as bean pods, bean vines, hop vines, potato vines, 
sorghum begasse and pomace. Flax straw is excellent; 
it lies close to the plants, but does not smother them. 
When removed in the spring, the bolls and chaff cover 
the ground and protect the fruit. Tobacco stems are 
of doubtful value, although they promote the growth of 
the plants. In the Norfolk district strawberries fre- 
quently are planted between rows of early cabbage, which 
are followed by snap beans or peas; the vines of these 
crops are left on the ground to assist the crab-grass in 
mulching the strawberries. 

Mulches of wild herbage. 

Many kinds of wild herbage may be used to advantage. 
Marsh hay, whether salt or fresh, is excellent; also 
prairie hay in the Mississippi Valley, and crab-grass, or 
wire-grass hay in the South. These wild hays usually are 
quite free from weed seeds. The small amount of salt 
in salt marsh hay does not injure the strawberry plants. 
In northern Vermont and on the Pacific coast where 
ferns and brakes grow luxuriantly, these are cut for a 
mulch. The leaves of various deciduous trees are used 
on small plantations in the North. Pine leaves or pine 
"straw" is the standard mulching material of the South, 
especially for keeping the berries clean. A leaf mulch 
should be light, rarely over two inches deep ; if heavier, 
the plants may be smothered. 

Wood moss is used sometimes, especially in Maine. 

Plate \'III. Mulchinu. — Above, parting a heavy winter mulch 
from over the rows, Michigan ; below, hill plants of Magoon, Vashon, 

Mulching 115 

It must be put on very late in the fall and taken off early 
in the spring, or it will smother the plants. Seaweed is 
satisfactory for a winter mulch if most of it is ribbon 
weed, eel-grass or other coarse weeds; if it is mostly 
Irish moss or other fine weeds, it may smother the plants. 
If the spring is wet, a seaweed mulch favors rotting of 
the fruit. In Nova Scotia a mulch of rushes has been 
found satisfactory. 

Several kinds of woody material are used successfully 
under certain conditions. In those parts of Canada and 
northern United States where the ground is covered 
with snow most of the winter, strawberries may be 
mulched with boughs or brush to keep the snow from blow- 
ing away. Evergreen trees, eight to twelve feet high, are 
used, preferably of fir; the branches are trimmed from 
one side so that the boughs will lie where placed. Some 
Manitoba growers prefer deciduous brush cut in summer 
so that the leaves adhere through the winter. Brush 
and boughs merely hold the snow, and do not make a 
mulch that protects the fruit ; hence it is better to apply 
a light straw mulch first, with brush on top. 

Miscellaneous mulching materials. 

Planing mill shavings have given fair results, but saw- 
dust is objectionable. If applied heavily enough to pro- 
tect from winter injury, it lies so closely that it keeps the 
ground cold and smothers the plants. Moreover, the 
fine dust is spattered upon the berries. Pine sawdust is 
not as injurious as oak sawdust. Spent tan-bark, which 
was used extensively about 1850, was found undesirable. 
If used, it should leach for a year. Swamp muck has 
been used successfully when herbage material was scarce. 
In the North, plants grown in hills or hedge-rows have 

116 Strawberry-Growing 

been protected with an earth mulch; Patrick Barry 
suggested this in 1850. About one inch of soil is plowed 
over the plants in November; the following spring it is 
scraped off with a hoe. This method cannot be used ex- 
cept where there is not likely to be any growing weather 
during the winter. Where strong winds prevail during 
the winter, light mulching material, especially leaves, is 
liable to be blown away. This is one of the diflficulties 
in the North Central prairies. Brush, corn stalks, a 
thin covering of manure, or a wire stretched tightly over 
the row, are used to hold the mulch in place. 


Usually, the mulch crop is secured from outside the 
strawberry field. About 1870, when clean tillage between 
rows had become quite general, the idea was conceived of 
utilizing the tilled middles for growing a mulch of the 
small grains. More recently a number of northern 
growers have laid by their hedge-row plants in barley, 
seeded about September first at the rate of two bushels 
to the acre, and worked in with a twelve-toothed cultiva- 
tor. The barley should grow one and a half to two feet 
high before it is killed by frost; this mulch is supple- 
mented by a light covering of straw. Buckwheat, Kaffir 
corn and millet are used also for this purpose. 

The main objection to growing a mulch crop in the 
strawberry field is that it exhausts the soil of moisture 
at the time when the plants are growing most rapidly 
and need it most. In Missouri and other sections having 
a mild winter, some years the mulch crop is killed by 
frost before it has made enough growth to afford protec- 
tion; other years it lives over the winter and starts to 

Mulching 117 

grow again in the spring, becoming weeds. This method 
is not advisable, except in the North, and then only with 
hill or hedge-row plants set on strong land and well tilled 
through the early part of the season, so that the crowns 
are strong. Even under these conditions it is risky ; if the 
fall is dry, the plants may be seriously injured. 

Crab-grass mulch in the South. 

The counterpart of the foregoing method in the South 
is the weed or crab-grass mulch. In Delaware, eastern 
Maryland, eastern Virginia, and southward, and in 
southern Illinois, southern Indiana, and southward, a 
weed mulch is used frequently. The South is abundantly 
supplied with a weed that is peculiarly fitted for this 
service. If tillage is stopped in midsummer, the straw- 
berry field quickly becomes a mat of crab-grass. This 
is allowed to grow at will; big weeds are chopped out 
by hand. Crab-grass is shallow-rooted ; if the season 
has normal rainfall, it will not interfere materially with 
the growth of the strawberry plants. The first heavy 
frost kills it, leaving a thin covering of herbage upon the 
ground. Usually, this is enough to protect the plants 
from winter injury and heaving, which are not serious in 
the South, and to protect the berries from sand, but it 
is not heavy enough to be of much value for conserving 
soil moisture in the spring. It helps to crowd out chick- 
weed and other winter weeds. Fields handled in this 
way ripen berries several days earlier than fields that are 
unmulched, or are mulched with straw ; hence the method 
is valued in those parts of the South where early ripening 
is of prime importance. In the Norfolk district the 
growth of crab-grass is often so heavy that it is mowed 
in the fall and part of it raked off for hay, but this 

118 Strawberry-Grcnving 

practice is discouraged, as it is likely to make the 
berries sandy. 

The chief advantages of the crab-grass mulch are that 
it is cheap and that it promotes early ripening. On the 
other hand, it is dangerous. If tillage is stopped too soon, 
the grass may smother the strawberry plants; if too 
late, there will not be enough grass to make an effective 
mulch. In wet seasons the plan works quite well; in 
dry seasons there is not enough moisture for both straw- 
berries and grass, and the result is a light crop the follow- 
ing spring. The land is kept filled with weed seeds, 
which plague the grower the next year. The Maryland 
Experiment Station has compared a plot which received 
no late summer cultivation and hence was filled with 
crab-grass, with a plot cultivated until late fall and then 
mulched with wheat straw ; also with a check plot which 
was cultivated until late fall, but not mulched.^ The 
berries on the crab-grass plot ripened a week earlier than 
on either of the other plots, but yielded 708 quarts less 
an acre than the check plot and 3713 quarts an acre less 
than the plot mulched with wheat straw. It is probable 
that on the lighter soils of the South, when extreme earli- 
ness is desired, a crab-grass mulch will continue to find 
favor; but the drift is constantly away from such un- 
predictable methods towards cleaner culture and the 
greater certainty of a hand-placed mulch. 


For many years northern growers waited until the 
ground was frozen hard enough to hold up a wagon before 
spreading the winter mulch. This is not advisable, since 

»Bul. 124, Md. Exp. Sta. (1907). 

Mulching 119 

alternate freezing and thawing in the fall, before the 
ground is frozen hard, frequently injures the plants. On 
the other hand, if a heavy mulch is applied before the 
ground is frozen, the plants are likely to be smothered. 
Furthermore, there may be warm weather late in the 
fall which starts the plants into growth ; then they turn 
yellow and are easily winter-killed. If the mulch is to 
be heavy, it is best to apply not over two inches in the 
fall and the remainder after the ground is frozen. A 
manure spreader, with a large straw rack attached, may 
be used to put on a thin fall mulch, which will cover 
the crowns, but leave the foliage exposed. 

Where snow clings to the land all winter the mulch is 
spread as soon as there is enough snow for sleighing. 
This retards the season of blossoming and lessens the 
danger from spring frosts. In northern Wisconsin and 
parts of Canada, some growers prefer to wait until late 
winter, just before the snow melts. In the prairie regions, 
which are subject to high winds, it is advisable to mulch 
immediately before a rain or snow, so that the material 
will mat together and not be blown away. If using seedy 
straw, the later it is applied, the less the chance that the 
grains will sprout. Mulching is slow and often disagree- 
able work ; if there is much to do, commence early. 

How much to use. 

Local climate, the variety, method of training and soil 
determine the thickness of the winter mulch. In Ken- 
tucky, two tons to the acre, or even less, may be suflfi- 
cient ; but in some parts of the Northwest eight to twelve 
inches of settled straw are considered none too much. 
"In this region," says N. E. Hansen, of South Dakota, 
"it has been a constant fight with nature to mulch heavily 

120 Strawberry-Growing 

enough to protect from winter-killing and yet light enough 
to avoid smothering the plants." In most parts of the 
North, however, a mulch three to four inches deep, after 
settling, is sufficient. It should be somewhat deeper 
between the rows than over the plants. On the upper 
peninsula of Michigan, most growers do not mulch at all, 
as snow covers the ground continuously throughout the 
winter. On the Coastal Plain of British Columbia, Wash- 
ington and Oregon, the winters are so mild and wet that 
a mulch would rot the foliage. In the South, wherever 
the ground freezes to a depth of one or two inches a big 
handful of pine straw thrown over each plant furnishes 
sufficient protection ; it is not necessary to cover the entire 

Tender, shallow-rooting varieties, like the Jucunda, 
require more mulch than hardy sorts, like the Dunlap. 
Plants grown in hills or hedge-rows require more than 
plants in matted rows. The farther apart the plants are 
the more mulch they require; when they are close to- 
gether, as in a matted row, the tops protect each other 
and the roots interlace and hold the soil, and prevent 
it from heaving. In matted rows, the older the bed, the 
less mulch it needs ; under hill training the reverse is true. 
In the North, hill plants, grown under intensive culture, 
require special care in mulching. The luxuriant foliage 
is likely to damp off if mulched heavily ; the plants will 
heave if mulched too lightly. The material should be 
applied gradually. In the fall, fine manure, followed by 
dry leaves or short straw, is placed around each plant — 
not over it — by hand. Later, when the ground is frozen 
slightly, the plants are covered lightly with long straw, 
and more is added after the winter is well advanced. In 
the spring the mulch is removed with equal caution. 

Mulching 121 

On sandy soils, mulching for winter protection may not 
be necessary, even in the North, except for hill plants; 
the lighter the soil, the lighter the mulch. The amount 
used will depend, also, on whether it is to be kept around 
the plants the following spring for moisture conservation. 
If making a specialty of late berries, mulch heavily ; the 
heavier the mulch, the longer is season of blooming and 
ripening retarded. In 1898, S. R. Devine, of Sullivan 
County, New York, covered a field thirty inches deep 
with ice, with ten inches of straw above it. The berries 
ripened through July and August, and sold for fifty cents 
a quart, but the venture was not profitable. Now that 
we have dependable everbearing varieties, such extreme 
measures are unnecessary. 

When to remove the mulch. 

In most cases, the mulch is left around the plants to 
keep the berries clean. The advantages and disadvantages 
of removing the winter mulch in spring to permit tillage, 
are considered on pages 74—75. The mulch should 
not be removed until settled spring weather is assured. 
Do not be deceived by a day or two of prematurely warm 
weather; "maple sugar weather" is very trying to un- 
covered plants. Unless earliness is essential, the later 
the mulch is left on without injury to the plants, the 
better. The plants should be examined frequently; if 
they show signs of bleaching, they should be uncovered, 
regardless of the calendar. If the mulch is kept on late, 
not only does it retard the blossoming season, but also it 
smothers early weeds. It may pay to go over the field 
the first warm days and merely loosen the mulch over 
the rows with a fork, to prevent bleaching. 

If the mulch is but two inches deep, or less, it is not 

122 Strawberry-Growing 

necessary to remove it from over the plants in the spring ; 
they will push through. A heavy mulch must be parted 
over the rows by hand and pushed into the middles. 
In case the field is to have spring cultivation, the mulch 
can be shifted from row to row, as detailed on page 75 ; 
or it can be removed entirely with the horse rake or 
weeder. The weeder is less likely to pull up plants. 
Straw that has been used but one year may be stacked 
for use another season. 


The foregoing paragraphs refer to a mulch that is ap- 
plied primarily to prevent winter injury and, incidentally, 
to keep the fruit clean. Throughout the South and on 
the Pacific coast mulching for winter protection is not 
necessary, but mulching for fruit protection may be ad- 
vantageous. Dirty fruit looks unattractive and sells 
poorly ; it commands several cents less a quart than 
bright, clean berries. Dirty strawberries may be washed, 
but this hurts their appearance and shipping quality. 
The expense of mulching is slight compared with the 
added selling value of the fruit. 

Whether or not to apply a fruiting mulch depends on 
the soil, climate, variety and method of training. More 
dirt is spattered upon berries by splashing showers than 
from direct contact with the ground. Where rains are 
infrequent during the fruiting season, as on the North 
Pacific coast, there is less need of mulching. The more 
sandy the soil, the less likely is it to be splashed upon the 
berries. The surface of some of the best strawberry soils 
in the Ozark district is almost entirely covered with small 
stones, which make an excellent mulch for conserving 

Plate IX. — Top left, circular dropper, used to cut runners from hill 
plants ; top right, foot power stapling machine ; bottom, fruiting mulch 
between rows of hill plants on drainage ridges, Florida. 

Mulching 123 

soil moisture and keeping the berries clean. Varieties 
with long, stiff fruit stalks, like the Clark, keep most of 
the berries out of the dirt. When the plants stand 
rather closely together in matted rows, they hold up one 
another, and there is less need of a mulch than with hill 
and hedge-row plants. A fruiting mulch is more likely 
to pay with late sorts than with early varieties ; even a 
light mulch retards ripening somewhat. Further ad- 
vantages of the fruiting mulch that should not be over- 
looked are that it provides a clean, dry place for the 
pickers, and, to some extent, smothers weeds. 

Materials used. 

Any of the materials used for the winter mulch may be 
used in the spring also, provided they are short and fine 
enough to be worked around and under the plants easily. 
Throughout the South, pine needles, also called "pine 
straw," "tags" or "shatters," are used almost exclusively 
when available. This material is cheap, easy to apply, 
keeps the fruit clean and does not blow away readily, but 
is not a valuable source of humus. Where long-leaf pines 
are abundant, the straw is commonly gathered with a 
horse rake and is baled and shipped by the carload ; 
it costs ten to twelve dollars a ton. In 1913 the Farmers' 
Association of Independence, Louisiana, secured 7000 
acres of pine straw land in order to supply its members 
with mulching material at a low price. After the crop 
is harvested the pine straw is stacked for use another 
season, or is composted. It is commonly applied when 
the plants begin to bloom, occasionally earlier. If ap- 
plied too early, it keeps the ground cold and makes the 
crop later. It is spread directly on the plants, which 
push through with little, if any, assistance. The amount 

124 Strawherry-Growing 

used depends on whether the mulch is expected to con- 
serve soil moisture as well as to keep the fruit clean. If 
so, the straw should be about two inches deep after settling, 
and spread over the entire surface. If used only for 
protecting the fruit of hill plants, a few handfuls of straw 
may be placed over and around each plant. The pine 
straw mulch is used to advantage also for protecting the 
blossoms from frost (page 282). One objection to this 
material is that it harbors crickets and other insects which 
eat the fruit. Its dark color is a disadvantage; this 
absorbs heat, which is reflected upon the pickers; and 
the sharp needles warp up and prick their knees. 

Cotton seed hulls and rice chaff are used to some extent 
in the South, especially hulls. Only enough hulls are 
used to hide the soil under the plants and for four or 
five inches on each side. Usually this takes three to 
five tons an acre ; since hulls cost four to five dollars a 
ton, this is an expensive mulch, but the decaying hulls 
add to the soil a small amount of potash. Where wire- 
grass hay is abundant, it can be used to advantage for 
the fruiting mulch ; it is free from weed seeds, soft and 
durable. About one ton to the acre is sufficient. In some 
parts of the South, especially in Florida, crickets and other 
fruit-eating insects are so serious in mulched fields that 
mulching is impracticable. 

At the Arkansas Experiment Station the yield was in- 
creased one-third by spring mulching. One or two tons 
of straw or prairie hay are sufficient. A manure spreader 
is used to apply this light mulch. A wide frame is at- 
tached to the box of the spreader, and a man stays on 
top of the load to keep the straw packed down so that it 
will feed. Two rows are covered at a round more evenly 
and with less material than is possible with hand spread- 

Mulching 125 

ing. The mulch should be applied several weeks before 
the blossoming season so that it will settle around the 
plants. There is very little mulching on the Pacific 
coast, except in home gardens and in the foothills. The 
large hill plants of eastern British Columbia sometimes 
are mulched with short straw worked under the plants, 
where it will not interfere with tillage. This is placed 
around them by hand when the earliest berries are as 
big as peas. Two tons of cut straw to the acre are suffi- 
cient. Where irrigation is practiced, a mulch is a decided 
inconvenience and is seldom used. 



The essential organs of the strawberry blossom are 
shown in Plate X. If any one of the numerous pistils 
is not impregnated, no seed will develop at the base of 
that pistil ; and if no seed, then none of the pulp near it. 
If practically all the pistils are fertilized and the seeds 
develop, the berry will be large and shapely. If only 
a part of the seeds develop, through lack of pollen, un- 
favorable weather, insect attack or other cause, the berry 
will be small and misshapen. The fruit of the strawberry 
is not a "berry" in the botanical sense, like the huckle- 
berry or gooseberry, but is an enlarged receptacle. 


The early botanists invariably described the straw- 
berry as bisexual, although many of the wild plants were 
not so. Under the stimulus of cultivation and hybridiza- 
tion, the strawberry now shows great diversity in the 
sexual arrangement of the blossoms. C. W. Richardson, 
an English plant-breeder, enumerates these as follows : ^ 

"1. Females with the male organs undeveloped. 

"2. Females with most of the female organs atrophied, 
or hypertrophied and inefficient, no male organs being 

1 Jour. Genetics, 3 (1914), p. 176. 


Pollination 127 

"3. True hermaphrodites, with both male and female 
organs developed. 

"4. Males with the female organs undeveloped. 

" 5. Males with the female organs only developed in a few 
flowers, generally the first flowers produced in each truss. 

"6. Flowers with neither male or female organs de- 
veloped, or with the female organs hypertrophied." 

All of these types are found in North American varie- 
ties. Occasionally a single plant bears distinct pistillate 
blossoms, distinct staminate blossoms, and all gradations 
between, sometimes on the same truss. Practically 
all of the cultivated varieties of to-day, however, belong 
to classes one and three ; the blossoms are either female, 
with the male organs not fully developed, or they are 
hermaphrodite, with both male and female organs fully 
developed. The other types of blossoms appear only 
occasionally, as a result of unusual conditions in food 
supply, temperature, or other factors in the environment. 
Plants with true male blossoms, and the female organs 
wholly abortive, were quite common before 1880. These 
male plants were absolutely barren and were useful only 
for pollinating female plants. Male plants still are 
found in the Hautbois and, to a slight extent, in other 
species. William P. Brooks has reported them in Japan 
among the native Fragaria vesca. In England all varieties, 
with the exception of the Hautbois, are hermaphrodite. 
For practical purposes, all North American varieties are 
either female or hermaphrodite. 

Terms used in describing sex. 

There has been much confusion in the terms used to 
designate sex in strawberries. Hermaphrodite varieties 
have been called "bisexual," "staminate," "perfect" 

128 Strawberry-Growing 

and "male." Female varieties have been called "pis- 
tillate" or "imperfect." Since true male plants are 
not grown now, there is no need of preserving that term 
and no danger of confusing male and hermaphrodite 
varieties, as there was once. In 1844, G. W. Huntsman 
proposed the terms "pistillate" and "staminate" for 
female and hermaphrodite varieties, respectively. These 
terms have been used more than others and are as satis- 
factory as any ; it would be well if other terms were dis- 
carded. The classification of varieties as to sex cannot 
be exact in the botanical sense. The same variety may 
differ widely in sex, especially in pollen production, vary- 
ing with soil, climate and culture. "Hermaphrodite" 
and "bisexual" are correct terms, botanically, but clumsy. 
"Perfect" and "imperfect" convey no meaning to the 
uninitiated. "Staminate" and "pistillate" direct atten- 
tion to the essential organs and are more easily under- 
stood by practical growers. As these terms are now used, 
a staminate variety is one that has a sufficient number of 
well-developed stamens to be able to pollinate itself; 
a pistillate variety is one that does not produce suflBcient 
pollen to pollinate itself, although it may have stamens 
and produce a little pollen. The classification is arbi- 
trary and horticultural, not exact and taxonomic. 


The facts concerning the separation of sexes in the 
strawberry blossom, and the advantage of planting pollen- 
bearing plants with pistillate sorts, first were brought 
prominently to the attention of North American culti- 
vators about 1845, by Nicholas Longworth of Cincinnati, 

Pollination 129 

Ohio. This interesting chapter in strawberry history is 
given elsewhere.^ 

The theory of a division of labor in „ne blossom. 

Although Longworth's theory that no hermaphrodite 
variety could be valuable perished with the introduction 
of the Longworth and the Wilson, many growers con- 
tinued to believe, and some still affirm, that pistillate 
sorts, when properly fertilized, are more productive than 
staminate. The main argument in support of this con- 
tention is that there is "a division of labor" in the straw- 
berry blossom. This idea was advanced in Longworth's 
day in an attempt to explain the fact that the pistillate 
varieties of that time were more productive than the 
staminate. It was argued that the production of pollen 
is an exhausting process ; hence, plants that do not pro- 
duce pollen are bound to be more productive, if properly 
pollinated from other plants, than those which develop 
both pollen and pistils. The fact that a certain number 
of pistillate varieties are more productive than an equal 
number of staminate varieties is not proof of this conten- 
tion. Between 1860 and 1880 the Wilson, a staminate 
variety, was the most productive sort grown. During 
this period, A. S. Fuller and other authorities advised 
against planting pistillate varieties and recommended 
that none but staminate sorts be introduced thereafter, 
because of the many mistakes made by growers in plant- 
ing pistillate sorts without providing a poUinizer. 

Relative productiveness. 

About 1878 the Wilson began to "run out," and there 
was a decided reaction in favor of pistillate sorts. This 

1 "The Strawberry in North America," Chapter III. 


130 Strawberry-Growing 

was due, in part, to the remarkable productiveness of 
the Crescent, a pistillate variety, which grasped the lead- 
ership relinquished by the Wilson. Between 1880 and 
1900, a large number of growers, having such heavy yield- 
ing pistillates as Warfield, Bubach, Haverland and Green- 
ville before them, believed that pistillate sorts are, and 
must be, more productive than staminate. In 1890 W. J. 
Green sent a list of leading varieties of both sexes to 
prominent strawberry-growers, requesting that the pro- 
ductiveness of each variety be marked on a scale of 
10. The summary of the replies gave an average of 
5.8 for the staminate, and 8 for the pistillate.^ In 
1912 the Ohio Experiment Station reported:^ "The 
average yield from each eighteen-foot row of perfect 
varieties (139 varieties) was 5.47 quarts, and from each 
row of the same length of imperfect varieties (66 varie- 
ties) was 7.19 quarts. There are some high-yielding 
perfect flowered varieties, and some among the imper- 
fect that give low yields; but it is generally recognized 
as a fact that the former, as a class, are less prolific than 
the latter." 

Probably this conclusion is correct, as applied to all 
varieties; but when applied to individual varieties it is 
without weight. Outside of experiment stations, few 
persons grow more than five or six varieties. Since a 
considerable number of staminate varieties are fully as 
productive as the most prolific pistillate sorts, the fact 
that pistillate varieties, as a class, are more productive 
than staminate varieties, as a class, is of academic inter- 
est only. For all practical purposes, staminate and pis- 
tillate varieties are equally prolific. 

1 Bui. Ohio Exp. Sta.,'Vol. Ill, No. 7 (1890), p. 22. 
«/6»d., Bui. 236 (1912), 

Pollination 131 

Advantages and disadvantages of pistillate varieties. 

Pistillate varieties, however, have some advantages. 
As a rule, their blossoms are somewhat hardier than those 
of staminate varieties. The superior frost resistance of 
pistillate blossoms has been observed by too many grow- 
ers in all parts of the country to be questioned. J. L. 
Budd explained this fact by the theory, "The develop- 
ment of pollen is an exhaustive process ; hence, the ovaries 
of the perfect varieties are not as well stored with starch 
and as perfectly matured as varieties of those that have 
no stamens or pollen." The immunity of pistillate varie- 
ties to injury by the weevil is noted on page 272. 

On the other hand, it is decidedly inconvenient to be 
obliged to set pollinizers with pistillate sorts. Solid 
blocks of one variety are more convenient in every way, 
especially in harvesting. Careless pickers are likely to 
mix the two varieties in the box, giving it an uneven, 
ungraded appearance. If prolonged rains occur during 
blossoming time, the pollen is not well distributed ; under 
these conditions, pistillate varieties have a larger number 
of imperfect berries than staminate sorts. In the coast 
region of British Columbia pistillate varieties are not 
popular, for this reason. 

Pistillate varieties gradually disappearing. 

According to U. P. Hedrick, "from 1834 to 1870 there 
were 185 varieties originated. Of these, 96, or 52 per cent, 
were pistillate. From 1870 to 1900, 513 varieties were 
originated. Of these, 156, or 30 per cent, were pistillate." ^ 
To continue his argument, but 28 per cent of the 482 
varieties introduced between 1900 and 1916 are pistillate. 
Hedrick concludes : " This shows a gradual tendency 

1 "American Gardening," XXII (1901), p. 226. 

132 Strawberry-Growing 

toward bisexuality." Undoubtedly this is due, in part 
at least, to cultural preferences. Since it has been demon- 
strated that staminate varieties can be secured that are 
fully as productive as the best pistillate sorts, most 
growers prefer them, because they are more dependable 
in pollination and more convenient to use. Breeders 
introduce varieties that growers will want to buy. If 
the drift toward staminate varieties continues at the 
present rate, in another century or less all North 
American varieties will be bisexual ; then one of the 
most confusing phases of strawberry culture will have 
been eliminated. 


Many pistillate varieties produce a little pollen and 
are able to set fruit alone in favorable seasons. Occa- 
sionally, some staminate varieties are not able to pollinate 
themselves perfectly. Crescent is classed as pistillate, 
yet the first blossoms that open may have well developed 
stamens; it may become a true staminate on rich soils. 
Glen Mary and Gandy are classed as staminate, yet 
the early blossoms frequently are deficient in pollen, and 
these varieties are benefited by being planted with a 
pollinizer (Plate X). The number of these semi-perfect 
varieties is larger than is commonly supposed. Unfa- 
vorable weather greatly reduces pollen production. In 
commercial operations it is well not to rel}' wholly on 
the arbitrary classification of varieties as to sex, but 
to use pollinizers, not only for known pistillate sorts, 
but also for weak staminate varieties that are likely to 
be deficient in pollen in unfavorable seasons. 

Pollination 133 

Desirable points in a pollinizer. 

The pollinizer should be, first of all, a valuable com- 
mercial variety. Many standard market varieties are 
good pollinizers. The pollinizer should produce an abun- 
dant supply of pollen, even under trying weather conditions, 
and at the right time to fertilize the pistillate blossoms. 
Some pistillate varieties have a longer blossoming season 
than staminate sorts ; if but one pollinizer is used, some 
of the early or late blossoms will not be fertilized. The 
benefit from using two varieties as pollinizers, one blos- 
soming somewhat earlier than the other, was shown in 
the experiments of E. S. Goff:^ "When Warfield was 
pollinated with Michel, an early bloomer, 68.8 per cent 
of the total crop was gathered in the first six pickings. 
When Warfield was pollinated with Parker Earle, a late 
bloomer, 56.3 per cent of the total crop was gathered in 
the first six pickings." In some cases it is desirable to 
select a pollinizer that ripens at the same time as the 
pistillate. There is little or no connection between earli- 
ness in blooming and earliness in ripening. Local notes 
on the blooming periods of varieties are necessary. Vari- 
eties that blossom together in one locality usually do in 
another, but not always. 

The "mating" of varieties. 

With few, if any, exceptions, varieties blossoming at 
the same time will fertilize each other. Much has been 
said about the proper "mating" of varieties. In so far 
as this term refers to the use of varieties that will furnish 
pollen for all the blossoms of the pistillate sort, early 
and late, it is well applied ; but if used to imply a superi- 
ority of one pollinizer over another in other respects, it is 

» Kept. Wis. Exp. Sta., 1897, p. 28. 

134 Strawberry-Growing 

hardly justified. The importance that once was attached 
to this subject, by some, is indicated by a statement made 
in 1894: "It is probable that every desirable pistillate 
sort has a good friend among the staminates that it should 
be married to in preference to others." ^ This view is 
given little credence now. Matthew Crawford says, "I 
have never yet seen a case where a pistillate variety 
refused to be fertilized by any bisexual variety that was 
near and that bloomed at the same time." 

Practically all staminate varieties will not only fer- 
tilize themselves and each other, but also any pistillate 
sort that is planted near them. A. S. Fuller stated that 
he had seen varieties which bore flowers "that, to all 
outward appearance, were perfect; still, neither their 
own pollen nor that of any other varieties would fertilize 
the pistils, except in rare instances." The Crystal City, 
or Acme, was said to behave in this way under certain 
conditions. The Marshall has been shown to be some- 
what inclined toward self-sterility ; that is, it does not set 
fruit so well with its own pollen as with that of some other 
variety.^ Such instances, however, are so rare as to be 
almost negligible. Ewert has shown that parthenogenesis, 
or the production of fruit without fertilization, is common 
in the strawberry.' His experiments lead him to believe 
that self-sterility does not exist among European varieties.* 

Immediate influence of pollen. 

Can the character of the fruit be influenced by the 
variety used as a pollinizer ? The seeds will be crossed ; 

1 Jacob Biggie, in "Die^e Berry Book" (1894), p. 43. 

* C. C. Georgeson found some of his hybrids between the native 
F. chilcBusis of Alaska and a common variety self-sterile. 

3 Landw. Jahrb. 38 (1909), Nos. 5-6, p. 767. 

* Jahr. Ver. Angew. Bot. 5 (1907), p. 83. 

Pollination 135 

if seedlings are raised, the influence of the male parent 
will be observed in them, but the seeds are a very small 
part of a ripe strawberry, usually less than two per cent. 
Is the influence of the pollen parent exerted on the pulp 
also, modifying the size, shape, color and quality of the 
berry? This has been the theme of many heated dis- 
cussions at horticultural meetings. It was first brought 
prominently before the public in 1883 by J. L. Budd, who 
said : " Observations and experiments have fully convinced 
me that this influence is so marked and positive as to ren- 
der an entirely pistillate variety, like the Crescent, so 
totally different when fertilized by two sorts of widely 
different characteristics that it would not be recognized as 
the same strawberry." This conclusion was supported by 
A. S. Fuller. On the other hand, Matthew Crawford, T. J. 
Burrill, T. T. Lyon and many others, found no immedi- 
ate influence of pollen. Later and fuller observations 
have supported this conclusion. It cannot be denied 
that, occasionally, the character of the fruit may be influ- 
enced very slightly by the kind of pollen used, but these 
instances are so rare that they are not worth considering 
as a cultural factor. 

Distributing the pollinizer. 

In planting, the proportion of the pollinizer to the pis- 
tillate sort will depend chiefly on the comparative market 
value of the two varieties and the ability of the former 
to produce pollen ; also, to some extent, on local climate. 
The proportion has steadily increased. When the use 
of pollinizers was first urged, about 1845, it was suggested 
that one be planted to each ten pistillate plants, following 
the advice of Michael Keens, of England. In 1845 S. S. 
Jackson, a nurseryman of Cincinnati, sold plants in 

136 Strawberry-Growing 

bunches of one hundred, with "ninety females and ten 
males" in a bunch. These were mixed indiscriminately 
in the row. At that time, however, the pollinizer was 
considered a dead loss, except to fructify the pistillate 
plants, and it was natural that the proportion of the polli- 
nizers should be kept as low as possible. By 1885 the 
proportion was one row of Wilson to five of Crescent. 
Now, the proportion usually recommended is one to three, 
occasionally one to two. It may be advisable to set an 
early blooming staminate on one side of a row of the 
pistillate variety, and a late blooming staminate on the 
other side. Growers who live near lakes or large streams, 
where the air is moist and fogs are common during the 
blooming season, may find it necessary to make every 
other row a pollinizer. Pistillate fall-bearing varieties 
need a larger proportion of the pollinizer than spring- 
bearing varieties, since the weather during their bloom- 
ing season is cooler and insect visitors less numerous. 

In most cases the pollinizer is set in separate rows. 
A few growers mix them promiscuously with the pistillate 
plants. W. S. Perrine, of Illinois, used three to five vari- 
eties in the same row. He planted solid rows of a variety 
diagonally across the field, so that staminate plants alter- 
nated with pistillate plants. More recently, L. J. Farmer, 
of New York, has advised : " I think, for best results, 
it is best to mix pistillate and staminate varieties in a 
row, keeping several rows for propagating purposes un- 
mixed." Most growers, however, prefer to plant the 
staminate and pistillate sorts in separate rows. 

Pollination 137 


Proper pollination is as important with staminate 
varieties as with pistillates. Few blossoms are self- 
fertilized, because the pollen and the pistils do not mature 
together in the same flower. It is necessary for pollen 
to be transferred from one blossom to another. This 
is done to some extent by wind, but mostly by insects. 
Probably over ninety per cent of strawberry pollination is 
done by insects. The strawberry blossom does not pro- 
duce much nectar, and bees prefer other pasturage when 
it is available, much to the loss of the grower. 

Nubbins are the result of imperfect pollination or of 
injury to the pistils; either the pollen did not reach all 
of the pistils, or fertilization was prevented (Plate XII). 
Occasionally nubbins result froni winter injury or from 
the work of weevils or other insects. Warm, dry weather 
favors good pollination. Insects are abundant on the 
blossoms then, especially the honey bee. Over ninety per 
cent of strawberry pollination is done by the honey bee, the 
bumble bee and other wild bees. In searching for nectar 
and pollen, their bodies become dusted with pollen ; this 
is carried from flower to flower, thus effecting cross- 
pollination. Cold or prolonged rainy weather is unfa- 
vorable to pollination ; it prevents insects from working 
upon the blossoms and may injure the essential organs. 
Frosts, dry winds, prolonged rains and hail cause many 
nubbins. Usually frosts injure only the blossoms that 
are fully expanded at the time. Those that are not opened 
are uninjured, and the crop is merely a little later in 
ripening. Nubbins are most abundant late in the ripen- 
ing season when the pollen supply is likely to be short 
and the plants are somewhat exhausted. 



The packages used for shipping strawberries have 
changed with the generations to meet new conditions as 
they have arisen. The evolution of the modern, cheap 
gift package from the clumsy and expensive return pack- 
age of earlier days has reflected the rapid development 
of the industry.^ 


When strawberries are grown for a personal market, 
many types of packages can be used in order to give dis- 
tinctiveness to the product; but when grown for the 
general market, the choice is determined largely by the 
preferences of the market. Buyers prefer the package 
to which they have become accustomed ; they will pay 
more for strawberries in what is considered a standard 
package for that market than in an unusual package, how- 
ever meritorious. 


Probably ninety-five per cent of the strawberries mar- 
keted in North America to-day are sold in quart or pint 
splint or scaleboard boxes. These are made of white 

' For the history of strawberry packages, see Chapter III in "The 
Strawberry in North America." 




wood (tulip tree), bass wood, spruce, cypress or birch 
veneer, about one thirty-second of an inch thick. Paper 
or cardboard boxes have been used to a slight extent. 
Most of the early paper boxes were unsatisfactory because 
moisture from the strawberries penetrated the paper and 
softened it, so that the boxes lost shape before they 
reached market, and the paper frequently affected the flavor 
of the berries. Paper boxes coated with wax or paraffin 
until they are waterproof have been used quite success- 
fully, especially for local trade; they have not been as 
satisfactory for long distance shipments. Paper boxes 
look neat and make an attractive package. They usually 
are shipped nested ; some are shipped in the flat and are 
made up by locking the end. They cost about $2.50 a 
thousand. Tin cups are used rarely. 

Shape and ventilation. 

The Hallock box is made of two pieces of scaleboard 
or veneer, one forming the sides and the other the bottom 
(Fig, 6). It is square, and the sides and bottom are solid, 
with no provision for ventilation. There has been much 
discussion as to 
whether strawber- 
ries carry better in 
tight or ventilated 
packages. Experi- 
ments in 1904 by 
the United States 
Department of Ag- 
riculture showed, "The principle of a close package is 
correct, and such a package will materially prolong the 
durability of the fruit, provided it is dry and sound." 
The bottoms of Hallock boxes are elevated one-half inch. 

Fig. 6. — Hallock box. 



Fig. 7. — Ameri 
can standard venti 
lated box. 

SO as to avoid crushing the berries below. There is no 
division frame between layers. No tight package for 
strawberries other than the Hallock now is in use, but 
some northern growers who cater to a special trade wrap 
each box in parchment paper. This 
keeps the berries bright and prevents 
them from absorbing taints. If left on 
too long, the paper, itself, may taint 
the berries by preventing the normal ex- 
halations from passing away. 
Ventilated or slat crates and venti- 
lated splint boxes — now called " American Standard 
Boxes" (Fig. 7), have steadily grown in favor, which in- 
dicates that ventilation has been found desirable by most 
shippers. The layers in the crate are separated by parti- 
tions, thus permitting free circulation of air around every 
box. A box with several holes in each side has been 
put on the market, but experience has shown that the 
ordinary American box provides enough ventilation. The 
American box is square, with slightly flaring sides; this 
is preferable to 
round or octag- 
onal boxes. 

The long octag- 
onal, or "Leslie" 
box, which has 
been used mostly 
in the Mississippi 
Valley, is the least desirable type. Like the Hallock, it 
is shipped in the flat ; it has notches in the corners where 
the bottom drops in (Fig. 8). No partitions are used be- 
tween layers of boxes. The raised bottoms make this 
unnecessary, and are not, as many consumers suppose, 

Fig. 8. — Octagonal, or " Leslie " box. 

Packages 141 

for the purpose of deceiving them as to the contents. 
The LesHe box is not economical of space in the crate, and 
it is difficult to pick up without bending the sides and 
bruising the berries. The raised bottom often splits ofP, 
causing the box to tip over ; or it may cup up and drop 
out entirely. Hallock and Leslie boxes are somewhat 
cheaper than American Standard boxes, but the latter are 
more substantial, and most markets prefer them. 

Cubic contents. 

There has been much confusion about the size of straw- 
berry boxes. The chief difficulty has been the difference 
between dry measure and liquid measure. In the United 
States, a legal dry quart contains sixty-seven and one- 
fifth cubic inches, level measure ; a legal liquid quart — 
commonly called wine measure — contains fifty-seven 
and three-fourths cubic inches. Berry boxes have been 
made under both standards and both have sold as a quart 
of berries. For many years, most markets did not dis- 
criminate in price between the dry quart and the wine 
quart ; frequently, dealers would buy berries in dry quart 
boxes and sell them in wine quart boxes, gaining one quart 
in five. Recently several states have enacted laws making 
it illegal to market strawberries in any but standard dry 
quart or dry pint boxes and the federal government, 
also, is exerting pressure in the direction. This is forcing 
growers in the chief producing districts to adopt the 
standard dry measure box, since a large proportion of their 
strawberries are shipped to markets where wine quarts 
are not allowed. From present indications, dry measure 
will be used exclusively within a few years. ^ 

1 The following states require the use of the United States standard 
dry measure for strawberries that are shipped or marketed within their 

142 Strawherry-Grovnng 

There is no federal law regulating the size of berry boxes 
for interstate commerce, but the outside of every crate 
must be marked with its contents in accordance with the 
regulation requiring that all classes of food must be 
plainly and conspicuously marked in terms of weight, 
measure or numerical count on the outside of the covering 
or container usually delivered to customers. This means 
that each crate must have the number of boxes it contains, 
and the quantity stamped on the outside. Canadian 
growers long have used the two-fifths and four-fifths quart 
dry measure, instead of the full pint and full quart. They 
contend that the bulk of fruit in a full quart is too large to 
insure safe arrival in a distant market without crushing. 
A British Columbia law requires strawberry boxes to 
hold one pound net ; a pound of berries is about four-fifths 
of a quart. The full pint basket is growing in favor in 
British Columbia, the Pacific states and in the South, 
especially for long distance shipping, early in the season, 
when prices are high. 

A few years ago, four sizes of "quart" boxes could 
be found in any large market — standard dry, stand- 
ard wine, scant or short, and skin or snide. The scant 
quart box, which usually contained 60^ cubic inches, 
once was used extensively and is still sold. Snide or 
scalper boxes frequently contained only forty-seven 
cubic inches. In 1888, snide quart boxes, holding but 
forty-two cubic inches, were used in New Jersey, until 
driven out by law. This sharp practice is no longer 
tolerated. The drift of the times is strongly toward 
honest measure. 

boundaries, that is, a full dry quart, dry pint or half pint : Delaware, 
Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, 
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode 
Island, Wisconsin. 

Packages 143 


The cubic contents of a box may be regulated by law, 
but the dimensions or shape of the box is a matter of con- 
venience to be determined by the growers and the box 
manufacturers. At a meeting of the Pacific Northwest 
manufacturers of berry boxes in 1913, it was recommended 
that the dimensions of the United States Standard quart 
box be 5 X 5 by 2^ inches deep, outside measure ; the 
United States Standard shallow pint 5 X 5 X l-g-f inches 
deep ; the United States Standard deep pint 4|- X 4|- X 1 1- 
inches deep.^ At a recent meeting of eastern box manu- 
facturers it was recommended that American quart boxes 
should be 5 inches top, from corner to corner inside ; bot- 
tom 4|- inches from corner to corner ; depth 2^ inches. 
The dimensions of the Hallock and Leslie boxes are : 
Hallock dry quart 5 inches square, 2\^ inches deep. Hal- 
lock wine quart 4f inches square, 2\ inches deep. Hal- 
lock pint, as above but one-half as deep. Leslie dry 
quart, band 3j inches wide by 20f inches long; bottom 
3j inches wide X 6f inches long. Leslie dry pint, band 
if inches wide X 20|^ inches long; bottom 3| inches 
wide X 6f inches long. Several special sizes are sold, 
as follows : Illinois Hallock pint 5 inches square, by 1^ 
inches deep. Illinois Hallock quart 5 inches square X 2| 
inches deep. Michigan Hallock pint 4f inches square 
X 1§ inches deep. Michigan Hallock quart 4f inches 
square X 2§ inches deep. 


The present prices of the different styles of boxes, f.o.b. 
factory, are given below ; usually the price for dry and wine 
measure boxes is the same. American ventilated quart, 

> " Better Fruit," Dec, 1913, p. 27. 



$3.00 to $3.25 a thousand. American ventilated pint, 
$2.75 to $3.00 ; Hallock quart, $2.60 to $2.90 ; Hallock 
pint, $2.25 to $2.50 ; Leslie quart, $2.60 to $2.90 ; Leslie 
pint, $2.25 to $2.50. These prices are for American boxes 
made up, for Hallock and Leslie boxes in the flat. Wire- 
sewed American boxes are preferable to those made up 
with tacks. There are, also, several types of folding berry 
boxes; these are shipped in the flat and are made up 
without tacks. They cost a little more than the others. 
The prices of boxes are lower now than ever before. 
In 1860 splint boxes cost $30 a thousand ; in 1870, $15 a 


The type of crate to use is determined by the type of 
box selected, since crates and boxes are sold to fit ; also 

by the market. Sub- 

stantial, iron-bound, 
return crates with 
hinged covers still are 
used somewhat for 
local trade (Fig. 9). 
These cost two or 
three times more than 
gift crates. Sectional 
return crates with two, 
three or four slat trays 
— usually three — each 
holding eight boxes, 

are useful for local markets. The trays are cleated so as 

to provide room for heaping berries without mashing them. 

Each tray may be taken out and displayed separately. 

Hallock and Leslie crates cost about half as much as 

Fig. 9.- 

iii%iia*Hii^i;;«n. . 
Heavy iron-bound return crate 

Packages 145 

American ventilated crates, since they have fewer pieces, 
and no racks or divisions are placed between the layers 
of boxes (Plate XIII). The covers of most gift crates 
are nailed on, but it is better to have them hinged with 
strap iron, as this permits the easy inspection of the 
crates, which is an aid in making sales. The gift crate 
should be light, but substantial enough to carry the fruit 
without damage; some are constructed of very flimsy 


The size of the crate, like the size of the box, depends 
on the distance that the fruit is to be shipped and the 
preference of the market. The farther the shipper is from 
market the smaller should be the crate, as the berries 
carry better. This is the chief reason why twenty-four 
or sixteen quart crates are used almost universally in the 
Mississippi Valley and westward, while thirty-two quart 
crates, or larger, are preferred in the East. Use the 
largest crate that can be handled conveniently and that 
will carry the berries safely ; the larger the crate the less 
it costs a box and the lower the expense of packing. The 
thirty-six quart crate is preferred by some, especially in 
New York ; it is better to make sales from than the thirty- 
two quart crate, since twelve baskets are exposed to the 
buyer ; but it cannot be handled easily by one man. The 
largest gift crate now used to any extent is the sixty-quart, 
which has four layers of fifteen quarts each. This has been 
popular in the Norfolk district for over fifty years. Two 
men are required to lift it, so it cannot be banged around 
like a light crate. The sixty quart size is a convenient 
unit for the wholesale trade ; most retailers in small towns 
can use that quantity at a time. The sixty-four, forty- 

146 Strawberry-Growing 

eight, forty-five and thirty-six quart crates are used some- 
what in the East, but more eastern strawberries are now 
shipped in thirty-two quart crates than all other packages. 
The sixteen and twenty-four quart crates long have been 
standard in the Mississippi Valley and westward, and in 
the South, and are gaining favor among eastern shippers. 
Recently the twelve quart crate has been used somewhat 
in the Mississippi Valley. The twenty-four pint crate 
is becoming a standard package in the West and South 
for extra early or extra fancy berries. 


The present prices for gift crates, f.o.b. factory, are 

given below ; wine and dry quart crates usually cost the 


Standard American ventilated, 32 qt. 17^{f 
Standard American ventilated, 24 qt. 15jf 
Standard American ventilated, 16 qt. 12^(4 
Hallock 24 qt. 7U to 8U 

HaUock 16 qt. 5U to 6U 

Hallock 12 qt. 5U to 6U 

HaUock 24 pt. 5U to 6^^ 

Leslie 24 qt. 8^ to 9U 

Leslie 16 qt. 5H to 6§j5 

Leslie 12 qt. 5U to 6U 

Leslie 24 pt. 5^ to 6U 

Associations that buy package material in car-lots 
secure a considerable discount from these prices. There 
has been but little reduction in the cost of gift crates since 


Boxes, crates and refrigerators should be procured long 
before the picking season opens. There is a risk in buying 





Plate XIII. Types of Crates. — Top, tweiit\-lnur quart Leslie 
crate of ungraded Arkansas Aromas ; center, twenty-four pint Hallock 
crate of well graded Louisiana Klondikes ; bottom, thirty-two quart 
American ventilated crate of well graded Missionary from Florida. 

Packages 147 

a full supply before the picking season begins, as the esti- 
mated crop may be cut short by weather conditions ; but 
it is safer to prepare for a full crop than to risk being caught 
without an adequate supply of packages in the middle of 
the harvest. The following experience illustrates what 
may happen if the ordering of package material is left 
until the last moment.^ "On account of the lack of berry 
crates the strawberry shipping at New Albany, Indiana, 
collapsed early last month. It is estimated that the loss 
will amount to $100,000. Hundreds of thousands of boxes 
of berries were left to rot in the fields." If ordered early, 
box material has a chance to dry out before being used, so 
that the moisture from crushed berries will be quickly ab- 
sorbed by the wood without injuring adjacent sound ber- 
ries. Packages made from material that is not well 
seasoned will heat. 

If the crates and boxes are bought knocked down they 
may be made up in the winter, thus furnishing profitable 
employment on stormy days. The crates may be made 
and filled with boxes, ready for use ; or the boxes may be 
stacked, bottom side up, so that dust will not settle into 
them. Some prefer not to make up the packages more 
than two or three days before using them, as they do not 
look fresh and clean if made up long ahead. Do not use 
second-hand boxes or crates ; even though the dingy 
ends are covered with colored lithographed labels, this 
is poor economy. 


The factories will make up the packages as cheaply as 
the grower can, but the freight bill will be heavier ; most 
growers find it more economical to do it on the farm. 

1 "American Fruits," I (1904), p. 74. 

148 Strawberry-Growing 

Hallock or Leslie boxes can be made up by hand for about 
seventy-five cents a thousand. Hallock quart boxes in 
the flat weigh 125 pounds a thousand ; they are crated in 
bundles of 500 each. Hallock crates weigh about five 
pounds each. It takes a little over one pound of two 
ounce tacks, costing twenty-five cents, to make 1000 boxes. 
A magnetic hammer, costing twenty cents, is useful. The 
forms on which to tack the boxes cost fifteen to twenty-five 

The Hallock box is made of two pieces of veneering, 
scored to bend at the corners. The band is bent inward 
at the groove marks, wrapped around the bottom, and 
tacked, the short end making the outside lap. Bands cut 
with fine score marks instead of grooves should be bent 
outward, away from the score marks. Four tacks should 
be used on the lap side, two through the lap and two near 
the corners ; also two or three on the opposite side. If 
the veneer becomes very dry, so that it cracks, it should be 
dampened. A boy or girl can make 1000 to 1500 boxes 
a day by hand. One person can put up 4000 to 6000 
boxes a day with a stapling machine ; stapled boxes are 
stronger than tacked boxes (Plate XIII). These machines 
cost about $40, when operated with steam power, and $16 
to $20 when operated with foot power. They feed the 
wire, form the staple, drive and clinch it with one stroke 
of the foot pedal. Wire costs less than tacks ; a coil of 
stapling wire costing eighty cents will make 10,000 to 
12,000 boxes. 

One man can make up 150 to 200 Leslie or Hallock crates 
a day at a cost of about one cent each. Crate forms can 
be made at home or can be bought for $1.25 each. F. E. 
Beatty gives the following directions for making the form 
shown in Fig. 10. "Take a plank two inches thick, six- 



■Form for making Leslie or Hallock 

teen to twenty inches wide and two feet long. Nail a six 
inch board to the back of it, then put on one inch strips 
to form the slots, as shown in the picture. These slots 
hold the ends and center pieces into their places while the 
sides are being nailed on." One piece of heading should 
be placed exactly 
in the center of 
the frame and 
the side pieces 
should be exactly 
even with the 
heading at both 
top and bottom. 
Use three-fourths ^^°- ^^ 
inch No. 16 wire 
nails ; and leave no nails protruding to catch the hands. 
American crates come knocked down and ready to as- 
semble by nailing the sides and bottoms to the ends. The 
division pieces or trays come made up, American boxes 
are shipped made up and compactly nested. They re- 
quire special machinery to make up and the veneer dries 
out and gets brittle if shipped in the flat. Several types 
of "folding" crates for use with American baskets are on 
the market, but have won little favor as yet. They are 
shipped folded and require no nailing, either for assembling 
or for attaching covers. 


Most strawberries are marketed in the packages de- 
scribed above, but a number of special packages are in use. 
These are of two types ; those that furnish refrigeration 
for berries shipped to distant markets, and those that are 
convenient for near markets. 

150 Strawberry-Growing 


The most elaborate and expensive strawberry package 
is the refrigerator box or chest. Refrigerators holding 
from 32 to 640 quarts of berries and a small quantity of ice 
were used before 1880 at Charleston, South Carolina, and 
in Florida. The early experiments with refrigerators 
by Parker Earle of Cobden, Illinois, are detailed elsewhere.^ 
The chief objection to the very large refrigerators was their 
ponderous weight. Small chests were likely to be thrown, 
bottom side up, in the express car and did not hold enough 
ice. The early styles had a narrow, upright receptacle 
for ice, forming a partition through the center of the box. 
In all later patents the ice pan covers the entire top. All 
the berries are cooled evenly, since the cold air near the ice 
settles to the bottom (Plate XIV) . Modern refrigerators 
are square. The ice pan is of galvanized iron, and occupies 
about one-third of the inside space. There is a ventilator 
flue of the same material through the middle. The tiers 
of boxes are separated by division slats. Practically all 
refrigerators in use now hold either sixty-four or eighty 
quarts of berries. The eighty quart size, with five tiers 
of boxes, is used more commonly than the sixty-four quart 
size with four tiers. The eighty quart size requires 175 
pounds of ice; the sixty-four quart size, 100 pounds. 
When full of berries and ice the former weighs 250 pounds, 
the latter 225 pounds. Before the berries are put into 
the refrigerator they are cooled by placing them in a shady 
place, or in a cooling room. After the chest has been 
filled and iced, it is removed to a cool place to reduce the 
temperature of the fruit before it is shipped. The ice pan 
is replenished just before the refrigerator is placed upon 
the train. 

' "The Strawberry in North America," Chapter III. 

Plate XIV. Special Types of Packages. — Top left, pony refriger- 
ator, used in Florida, with ice pan removed ; top right, chest of drawers 
or slides, used in California ; bottom, return trays used in southern 

Packages 151 

The refrigerator is a distinct advantage to the grower 
who has not enough berries to load a refrigerator car. It 
is used early in the season, when pickings are small and 
prices high ; when the season is at its height, refrigerator 
cars are used and the berries are packed in American ven- 
tilated crates. The refrigerator is shipped by express; 
it costs six to nine cents a quart to put Florida berries 
into northern markets. Refrigerators cost four to five 
dollars each. Most Florida growers now own their 
own refrigerators, but at one time certain commission 
men derived a handsome profit from renting them to 

California chests. 

A stout case holding forty-five pint boxes, with a tray on 
top holding twenty-five pounds of ice, is used in California. 
The insulation of these cases is rather poor, but they can 
travel for twenty-four hours without re-icing. Each 
grower has his own ice chests and they are returned to him 
when empty. Ice chests are used when only a few crates 
are shipped to one place. 

Many California berries are shipped in un-iced return 
chests. The chest used in the Watsonville district costs 
about three dollars and holds eighty pounds of berries. A 
chest has twenty slides, or drawers, each of which holds two 
boxes of berries of two pounds each (Plate XIV). The 
chest and slides are returned to the grower, the boxes are 
not. The slides are 15^ X 8j X if inches. Smaller chests 
with ten or fifteen slides are used to some extent. Some- 
times berries are shipped loose in the drawers of these 
chests ; this is, essentially, the old Cincinnati stand, 
which was used by Mississippi Valley growers from 1845 
to 1890. 

152 Strawberry-Groioing 


Berries destined for near markets are packed in return 
trays instead of crates; these are described by H. L. 
Crane, of Westwood, Massachusetts : "We use a 15 quart 
tray which is 5f inches deep, 17f inches wide, and 29 inches 
long, outside measurement. The ends are made of 5" 
planed boards, 5" X 17", with handles cut in them as in a 
bushel box. The sides are of |" board, 4f " X 29". 
The bottom is of five pieces laid cross- wise, one inch 
apart. It is made of f '' board, 5" X 17f". The 
cover is of five pieces ; three long f " boards, 4^" X 27^", 
which set inside the box, and two cross pieces which set 
on the sides ; these are |" X 17" X 3". The ends of the 
box being f " wider than the sides, protects the cross. 
Trays made of pine cost us 25 cents each. A sheet of 
wrapping paper placed over the berries keeps out the dust, 
which would sift through the slat tops. These trays are 
returned to the local growers. We get about 80 per cent 
of them back, and the rest are paid for." Trays holding 
eighteen or twenty-four quart boxes are used, also. In 
southern California, practically all the berries for local 
markets are handled in return trays holding fifteen pint 
baskets (Plate XIV) . The names or numbers of the grow- 
ers are stenciled upon them. These trays cost eight cents 
each. New England growers who cater to a local market 
ship their No. 1 berries in trays and the No. 2 stock in 
crates. Trays are cheaper, and more convenient for local 
trade than crates ; they also show off the berries better in 
the market. Another advantage is that none of the 
fruit is crushed by the weight of boxes placed above. 

Baskets of woven wicker work have been used somewhat 
in North America. Pottles, which were shaped like an 
inverted cone, and flat, shallow punnets were used near 

Packages 153 

Boston and New York before 1850. About 1870, many 
strawberries reached Boston in wicker baskets holding 
forty-six quarts. In 1898, F. G. Tice of Oswego County, 
New York, shipped his fancy berries in baskets holding 
six to eight quarts. Baskets are seldom used now ; the 
drift is toward a smaller gift package. There is an oppor- 
tunity for those who cater to a personal market to in- 
crease their trade by the use of distinctive containers. 
A special four quart crate, provided with handles so that 
it can be carried home easily, has been used successfully. 



Because of the very perishable nature of the fruit and 
the rapidity with which it ripens, timely picking and 
careful handling are more urgent with strawberries than 
with most other fruits. The cost of harvesting is the 
heaviest charge against the crop, amounting in many 
cases to over $100 an acre annually. 


Primarily, the location and its climate determine the 
length of the picking season ; incidentally, the soil, 
method of culture, age of plants and time of setting. 
Proceeding southward, the picking season of a variety 
lengthens. In latitude 34 degrees it rarely lasts more than 
three weeks ; in latitude 32 degrees it may extend from 
three to six months. In the tidewater Virginia and North 
Carolina districts, all the crop is harvested in about three 
weeks. In southern Florida, strawberries ripen contin- 
uously from the first of December until June, but the 
crop is not marketed after March. In southern Missis- 
sippi the season is three months ; in the northern part of 
the state, five weeks. The season of ripening in Florida 
and the Gulf states is determined very largely by the 
date of the last freeze or severe frost. This kills the 
expanded blossoms, and thus delays the picking season 


Picking and Packing 155 

four or five weeks. In the frostless districts of southern 
California, plants will bear more or less every month in 
the year, but there are fairly well-defined periods when 
they bear most heavily. In commercial fields, the plants 
are allowed to rest a short time in a semi-dormant condi- 
tion between seasons. The crop can be "thrown" at 
any time of the year by manipulating the factors of time 
of setting, irrigation and runner cutting. When the plants 
begin to slacken in bearing, the runners and leaves are 
cut off and irrigation stopped. After the soil has dried 
out and the plants begin to wilt a little, water is turned 
on and the plants bear again. The influence of altitude 
on the season of ripening is well illustrated in the Hood 
River Valley, Oregon. Near the Columbia River straw- 
berries ripen first; those on the higher benches, a few 
miles distant, ripen a month later. 

Weather conditions immediately preceding the ripen- 
ing of the crop modify the picking season. Some years 
the shipping seasons of districts that normally come into 
market consecutively are coincident, with disastrous 
results. Early, midseason and late varieties ripen prac- 
tically together in a backward spring. Hot weather 
hastens ripening, reduces yield and shortens the picking 
season. Cold weather prolongs the ripening season and 
gives firm berries. Wet weather retards ripening and 
makes the berries soft. In the North, the picking season 
normally is three to four weeks, but it may vary from 
eighteen to forty days and be two or three weeks earlier 
or later than normal. 

^4* affected hy the age of the 'plant. 

In the South, the picking season is regulated somewhat 
by the time of planting and the age of the plants. In 

156 Strawberry-Growing 

the Los Angeles district, the picking season from old 
plants is continuous for eight months, from April to 
November or December. The yield is heaviest in May, 
June and July, but there are profitable pickings through- 
out the season. Plants set in October or November 
bear a fair crop from April to the middle of July ; some 
fields have a small crop in the fall also. " In middle and 
northern Alabama," says F. S. Earle, "plants set in the 
spring and allowed to form matted rows ripen all their 
fruit during a period of three to four weeks, as in the 
North ; but if set in summer or fall they develop succes- 
sive fruit clusters during a much longer period, often 
scattering the crop through eight or ten weeks, as is the 
habit of the strawberry farther south. For home use or 
for local market, this longer fruiting season is a distinct 
advantage. Where berries are grown for northern ship- 
ment, the heavier early picking from the spring-set 
matted rows will be more practicable." ^ In the North, 
old fields often bear seven to ten days earlier than new 
plantings of the same variety, especially if the field was 
not renewed. 


How ripe berries should be when picked depends on 
the variety, weather, method of training and distance 
from market. Soft varieties need to be picked greener 
than firm sorts in order to get them to market in good 
condition. When the weather is cool, berries may be 
vine-ripened for near markets, since they are firm ; in hot 
weather they should be picked greener. Redness does not 
always indicate ripeness. Some varieties color well before 
they are ripe, or ready to eat. Berries increase in size 

1 Bui. 109, Ala. Exp. Sta. (1900), p. 41. 

Picking and Packing 157 

considerably after they begin to get red ; those who pick 
early, for long distance shipment, lose this advantage. 
The time to pick is influenced somewhat by the method 
of training. Hill or hedge-row berries color early ; berries 
from plants in heavily shaded matted rows color late. 
Small and medium-size berries may be picked riper than 
very large berries, which color slowly. 

The distance to market is the most important point 
in deciding how ripe the berries should be when picked. 
Berries ripened on the vines are of better flavor and more 
attractive appearance than berries picked when under- 
ripe. The closer the market, the riper the berries should 
be when picked. Growers who are within twenty-four 
hours shipping distance of their markets pick none with 
white tips. These immature berries do not color up 
fully by the time the fruit is exposed for sale ; they are 
unattractive and sour. In the home garden, berries 
should be allowed to become dead ripe on the vines. 

When the fruit is destined for markets several days 
distant, it becomes necessary to pick it somewhat under- 
ripe, to secure firmness and to insure that the berries 
will not be over-ripe when they reach the consumer. 
Flavor is sacrificed to shipping quality. Some sorts, as 
the Clark, color well during shipment if picked when 
they are barely beginning to color ; others color scarcely 
any after being picked. Do not pick any greener than is 
necessary to get the fruit to market in good condition. 
Frequently Oregon and British Columbia berries are in 
refrigerator cars seven to nine days. They can be picked 
when barely beginning to show color. "Pick the bed 
daily," advises W. C. Grant, of British Columbia, "re- 
moving all berries that show sign of color. When the 
bed is properly picked, every remaining berry is green ; 

158 Strawberry-Growing 

if any show a trace of color, the work is not thoroughly- 
done. By this method the berries will reach distant mar- 
kets in prime condition and will color up thoroughly." ^ 
Texas and Florida berries are picked when about three- 
fourths red. Farther north, where the growers are close 
to their markets, strawberries are picked when colored 
all over and without green tips. If refrigerators are 
used, berries can be picked riper than if they are shipped 
in ventilators. 

How often to pick. 

The rapidity with which the fruit ripens determines 
how often to pick. During cool weather, two pickings 
a week may be sufficient. In hot weather, daily pickings 
are necessary, especially if the fruit is to be shipped to a 
distant market. If obliged to miss a day or two on 
account of rain, the next picking will have many soft 
berries. Pick these in tin vessels and send them to can- 
neries or jam factories. It is necessary to pick them in 
order to keep soft berries out of subsequent pickings. 
In the higher altitudes of Montana berries ripen very 
slowly and frequently are picked but once a week. 
Weekly pickings are sufficient for everbearing varieties 
in late autumn. In hot weather, if the field is not picked 
on Saturday or Sunday, there will be many overripe 
berries Monday morning. The small grower who caters 
to a local trade can pick early Saturday morning, and sell 
the berries the same day ; but the large grower cannot ship 
on Saturday if his market is less than forty-eight hours 
distant. Some pick very clean on Saturday afternoon, 
even a trifle under-ripe, and put the fruit into cold storage 
over Sunday ; but in many cases it is safer to leave the 

1 Bui. 17, British Columbia Dept. of Agr. 

Picking and Packing 159 

berries on the vines. This is a personal problem in ethics, 
not in horticulture; it is as likely to be settled by the 
appeal of conscience as by the urgency of the need. We 
can appreciate the ingenuity, if not the ethics, of the 
strict Sabbatarian who hired Seventh Day Adventists, 
whose Sabbath falls on Saturday, to pick his berries on 
Sunday. In most cases — to venture a purely personal 
opinion — the loss of berries from not picking on Sunday 
is small compared with the loss in other respects. If 
Sunday picking is practiced, it should be optional for the 
pickers; if not, provision should be made for a larger 
force of pickers on Monday, and special care in grading 
is necessary to eliminate the over-ripe berries. 

Time of day to pick. 

Strawberries are picked preferably in early morning, 
because they are injured by standing in the sun after 
picking ; because they ship better if picked when cool and 
firm ; because it is a more comfortable time of the day 
for the pickers to work; and, if the market is near, be- 
cause the berries can be shipped and sold the same day. 
Whole train-loads leave points in Sussex County, Dela- 
ware, for New York, Philadelphia and Boston, before 
eight o'clock ; these berries were picked the same morn- 
ing. If shipping in refrigerator cars, early morning pick- 
ing is not so essential. The only objection to picking 
very early is that the berries may be wet with dew. 
Divergent opinions are held as to whether this injures 
their shipping qualities. Berries picked while wet go 
down quicker in cold storage than those picked while 
dry.^ Probably it is safer to wait until the sun has dried 
the dew, provided all the berries can be picked before it 

1 Bui. 108, Bureau of Plant Industry, U. S. Dept. of Agr. (1907). 

160 Strawberry-Growing 

gets hot. In hot weather, if it is necessary to choose be- 
tween picking in the early morning while the berries are 
still wet with dew or rain, and deferring picking so late 
that some will be gathered in the heat of midday, pick 
early. Some growers pick every day, regardless of dew 
or rain ; the pickers are provided with oilcloth or rubber 
capes. Those who sell a small quantity of fruit in a local 
market can pick late in the afternoon, place the berries in 
a cool shed overnight and market them the next morning. 

Care necessary in picking. 

The fruit is grasped by the stem, which is pinched 
and broken off a short distance from the berry. The 
fingers need touch the berry very little, if at all. Watch 
for the careless or fast picker, who snaps off the berry at 
the calyx, leaving no stem ; snapped berries may bleed 
and do not carry well. Short stems husband the keep- 
ing quality of the berries and prevent them from packing 
down too tightly in the box. The stems should be of 
uniform length. For long distance shipping, one-fourth 
to one-half inch of stem is left ; for near markets, from 
one inch to two inches. Pickers should gather all nub- 
bins and over-ripe berries, which exhaust the plants. 
Some provide the picker with a separate box for this 
purpose. Until the introduction of the Wilson, most of 
the strawberries brought to market were pulled, leaving 
the hulls on the vines ; those that did not separate from 
the calyx in picking were hulled before being sold. This 
practice was introduced from England. It was soon 
found that the labor of hulling was too great to make it 
practicable and that hulled berries did not ship well. 
Since 1860 strawberiies have been picked and marketed 
with hulls on. 

Picking and Packing 161 


Boxes, cups and stands. 

In commercial operations, berries are picked into the 
same kind of box that is used for shipping them, whether 
they are graded in the field or at a packing shed. For a 
local market, nine to twenty pound grape baskets are 
used, with a tin can at one end for culls. Some growers 
who do not grade give each picker a sixteen or twenty- 
four quart crate, with the picker's number stamped upon 
it ; when this has been filled, the picker carries it to the 
shed. In the Pacific Northwest, growers who find it 
impossible to secure the right kind of help to grade in the 
field, pick into a specially constructed stand or tray. 
This is sixteen inches long, ten inches wide, two inches 
deep at one side and four inches at the other; it holds 
about six quarts. The legs extend below the bottom 
three inches and one inch respectively, so that the top 
is level when the stand is set on the ground. The four- 
inch side is hinged at the bottom and secured at the top 
by hooks, so it can be dropped down at the grading 
table. This picking tray is lined loosely with white oil- 
cloth so that it can be easily cleaned. 


When boxes are used, these aire placed in a light handled 
carrier, also called a tray, picker's stand or "handy." 
In hot weather, each picker is provided with one carrier ; 
in cool weather two. The most common size holds four 
boxes, but six, eight, ten and twelve box carriers are 
used. The larger the carrier, the greater the danger 
that the fruit picked first will be injured by the sun. 
The grower should provide at least twice as many car- 



Fig. 11. — The most 
common type of box 
carrier, or " handy." 

riers as there are pickers, so that the pickers need not 
wait at the packing shed while the full boxes are being 
removed. Remove the factory dust from boxes with a 
whisk broom before placing them in the carriers. Do not 
grasp a full box on both sides when 
removing it from the carrier; this 
squeezes the berries. Carriers can be 
made during the winter for five to 
seven cents each. F. E. Beatty gives 
directions for making the carrier 
shown in Fig. 11: " Take a board 
^" thick, 10" wide, and 15" long 
for the bottom. Nail a lath on each side and on the 
ends to hold the boxes in place. Use two inch strips, 
5" thick and 5" long, for legs. Use a piece of barrel 
hoop for the handle." Many growers prefer carriers 
without legs, as these catch in the vines; but the legs 
prevent the carrier from crushing the berries if it is set 
upon the row. A carrier provided with a strong handle 
that pickers may rest on is shown 
in Fig. 12. In the South, especi- 
ally near Norfolk, carriers arc made 
with board ends and the bottom, 
top and one side of veneer ; the 
other side is left open for taking handle 
out and putting in the boxes. This protects the picked 
fruit from the sun. 

In the Pacific Northwest, occasionally berries are carried 
from the field to the packing shed on a wire or cloth sieve, 
which allows the sand and dust to fall through. The 
most elaborate device is the overhead carrier used in the 
Los Angeles district, California (Plate XV). The entire 
field is planted ; no space is left for roads or paths. Posts 

Fio. 12. — Carrier with- 
out legs and with stout 

Picking and Packing 163 

are set across the field 150 feet apart and brackets are 
nailed to them 6| feet from the ground. At the ends of 
the brackets are fastened wu-es, which run through a 
pulley. A box large enough to hold two or three crates 
travels on the wire across the field to the packing shed ; 
there it is unloaded and shoved back to the picker. 


The control of pickers requires judgment and tact to 
an unusual degree. Several types of mechanical pickers 
have been tried, but none has been successful. From 
eight to fifteen pickers are required to an acre, accord- 
ing to the yield and the skill of the picker. If a long 
rain is followed by hot weather, more pickers are 
needed. Have enough so that it will be unnecessary for 
them to work over eight hours a day ; tired pickers are 
careless. If there are too many pickers, they do not 
make enough money and become dissatisfied. 

Relative value of different types of pickers. 

Pickers should be engaged early. If they come from a 
distance, have camping facilities ready. An advertise- 
ment in the want column of the nearest city paper will 
bring many. Employment agencies may be utilized. Do 
not take any with defective eyesight or who are physi- 
cally unfit to do steady work. It is easier to get a large 
number of pickers to stay through the season than a few. 

Most growers prefer women pickers : " Engage your 
pickers, women first, then girls, and boys last," advises 
Matthew Crawford. According to O. W. Blacknall, 
" Women have a better eye for color, nimbler fingers and 
are by nature more diligent than men. Then, what is 

164 Strawberry-Growing 

no small matter, they are more abstemious." Small 
girls and boys are about equally good pickers, if closely 
watched. Children eight to twelve years old do better 
work than those between the ages of fourteen and eight- 
een. One advantage of using men and large boys is 
that they can pick in rainy weather and early morning, 
when the vines are wet with dew, or on very hot days; 
a grower hesitates to ask women and young children to 
pick under these conditions. 

When local help is inadequate, pickers are secured 
from elsewhere, and camp on the farm. Usually the 
grower provides camping facilities, including sheds, 
tents, cook stoves and bedding. In the North Atlantic 
states, Italians, Bohemians and Poles are used, always 
with a foreman of their own nationality, who is made 
responsible ; American foremen cannot handle them well. 
These pickers are always on hand and will work fourteen 
hours a day if necessary. There are over 10,000 berry 
pickers in Baltimore alone. From Maryland southward, 
negro help is used almost exclusively. There are some 
professional pickers who work in gangs almost the year 
round, beginning in Texas or Florida and working north- 
ward with the season. They will not stay except during 
the height of the season, when picking is good. These 
itinerant pickers seldom are trustworthy. 

Maintaining the grade. 

The greatest difficulty in the management of pickers 
is to prevent them from filling the boxes with green, 
over-ripe, small or imperfect berries, and to see that 
they do not pull or snap the berries from the vines. If 
the fruit is not graded at the packing shed, extra watch- 
fulness is necessary in the field. Each picker should 

Picking and Packing 165 

wear a badge with his number upon it, and each box in 
his carrier should be stamped with this number before 
being taken to the field. This takes little time and makes 
it possible to trace every box to the picker responsible. 
When the picker brings his berries to the packing shed at 
least one box should be examined in his presence. If the 
work is satisfactory, give him a white ticket ; if not, a 
blue ticket. The names of those who are especially pro- 
ficient may be displayed on a bulletin board that is hung 
in the packing shed ; this is an incentive to good work. 
It takes a few days of patient training to secure satis- 
factory results from new pickers. 

Handling pickers. 

A wise grower tries to keep his pickers comfortable 
and contented ; otherwise he may have a strike. Nearly 
every gang has one or more chronic grumblers; these 
should be detected and discharged. Pay double wage on 
circus days, and the forenoon of the Fourth of July. 
Organize sports during the lunch hour. Provide com- 
fortable and sanitary quarters at the camp. Motor 
trucks may be used to bring pickers from distant towns, 
and return them to their homes at night. At the close 
of the season give the pickers a picnic dinner at some 
near-by lake or resort. These attentions promote good 
feeling between employer and employees and result in 
more satisfactory service. 

The larger the number of pickers the greater the ne- 
cessity for system in handling them, so as to make every 
minute count. If each picker is obliged to wait ten 
minutes a day for empties, or there is delay in assigning 
new rows, the aggregate loss of time will be considerable. 
The pickers should be allowed to vary the monotony of 

166 Strawherry-Growing 

the work with gossip and repartee, provided they do not 
play. Pickers require constant supervision; one field 
overseer cannot look after more than forty pickers. It 
must be expected that the pickers will eat some berries. 
The sharp eyes of a field overseer are the best corrective of 

The pickers should start in on the side of the field 
farthest from the packing shed and work toward it. If 
the field is very large, divide it into sections by setting 
one or more lines of stakes across the rows ; pickers like 
short rows, and it is easier to look after them if they are 
close together. When the plants are trained in hills or 
narrow rows, let each picker have a separate row ; wide 
matted rows may be picked to best advantage by starting 
a picker between each two rows and requiring her to pick 
one-half of each. Assign rows according to the ca- 
pacity of the picker. The field foreman must be certain 
that each picker cleans the row that has been assigned to 
her; some may slip over to rows that seem to promise 
better picking. See that they do not tramp or loll on 
the vines or walk crossways of the rows. The pickers 
are obliged to move so frequently that no seat is practi- 
cable, although several types of "pickers chariots" have 
been introduced. Large berries should be placed in the 
box singly, medium berries by small handfuls, all so gently 
that there is no sound. Do not pour berries from one 
hand to the other. 

Most growers require each picker to bring the carrier 
of full boxes to the packing shed ; there is less chance of 
mixing the berries from different pickers, poor picking 
can be detected and pointed out at once, and the picker 
is relieved from her cramped position for a short time. 
When this is done, it is desirable that each row be num- 

Picking and Packing 167 

bered conspicuously with painted stakes, so that the 
picker may readily find her row when she returns. Pro- 
vide each picker with a small white stake, with her num- 
ber stamped on it, to mark the point where she leaves off 
picking. When it is desirable to keep the picker at 
work without interruption, she calls "Box," when her 
carrier is full, and a man gives her a ticket and takes it 
to the shed. 


Four methods of keeping accounts with pickers are 
used ; cash at picking time, day-book records, redeem- 
able checks and redeemable punch tickets. 

Cash, day-hook records and checks. 

Very few growers pay cash to pickers as they bring in 
the berries ; this is inconvenient and the pickers may 
lose their money, but there is no chance for mistakes or 
forgery of checks. A few growers pay by the hour. Day 
book accounting is practicable only when there are less 
than fifteen pickers. A record is kept of each picker by 
the tally man at the packing shed, thus : 

Sam Jones 

May 5 65 quarts. 

May 6 54 quarts. 

May 7 80 quarts. 

The pickers are paid once a week, or at the end of the 
season. This saves much time, but disputes may arise 
as to the accuracy of the records. 

Small cards or checks have been used more than any 
other method of accounting but are now superseded by 
punch tickets, except when the number of pickers is less 

168 Strawberry-Growing 

than twenty-five. Checks are pieces of cardboard about 
one inch by two inches, with the name of the grower 
printed on one side, together with the number of quarts 
it represents ; thus : 

J. M. Smith 


Green Bay, Wis. 

Checks should be printed in denominations most con- 
venient for the pickers, as one quart, two quarts, four 
quarts, sixteen quarts, twenty-four quarts and one hun- 
dred quarts. Sometimes ahiminum checks, called " straw- 
berry money," are used. If a four quart carrier is used, 
in printing 1000 checks 600 might be four quart, 200 one 
quart and 200 two quarts. There should be, also, some 
50 quart and 100 quart checks, to be exchanged for 
smaller numbers. The several denominations should be 
of different colors, to prevent mistakes. The checks are 
redeemable in cash at the discretion of the grower. 

The chief objection to check accounting is that the 
pickers may lose some of them. In this case he loses 
his pay, as the grower has no record of the persons to 
whom they are issued. Neither does the grower know 
how many checks he has issued, except by counting the 
number of baskets picked. A dishonest picker may 
steal the checks of another picker, or print more like them. 
A method used by M. A. Thayer of Wisconsin meets 
these objections. He says, "These checks are 1| X 
2| inches, 5 to the page, perforated and bound in books of 
500 each, making a convenient pocket check book. They 
are numbered consecutively, and a check is used but 

Picking and Packing 


once. By noting the number on the first check used, and 
at any time deducting same from the next check to be 
issued, one can determine just how many boxes have been 
paid for." ^ 


Picker's Card— Not Transferable. 
No Date 


<^ to 

I ^ 

3 * 

e* (0 

« (4 4> V 

n ^ S •'^ 

O Pi O -W 

§ «5 g 

2 2*1 
5 S S 

q 5 =3 I 

o ♦» -" 

a fi 1 c9 

*> /^ o 


Paid $ $ 50 ceots. 
Name. No 

Fig. 13. — Common type of punch ticket. 

Punch tickets. 

This is the standard method in large operations. It 
meets all the objections that have been raised to checks. 
Some of the more common type of punch tickets are 
shown in Figs. 13 to 16. They are printed on tough 
Manila tags, about 3| X I2 inches. Usually two tickets 

* " American Gardening," 1897, p. 392. 



are provided for each picker, a daily and a weekly ticket. 
The daily ticket is tied to the picker's left arm above the 
elbow, where it is out of the way. When she delivers 
boxes of fruit in satisfactory condition the inspector 
registers the number of quarts with a conductor's punch. 
At the close of each day's picking the number of boxes 






























































































M ♦. 











Picked by 






















































































































Fig. 14. — The Heller tally card. 

picked that day, as shown on the daily ticket, is trans- 
ferred to the weekly ticket. The daily ticket is then 
taken up by the grower and filed away for record. The 
weekly ticket is kept by the picker until she is paid in 
full, when it is taken up by the grower as a receipt. By 
preserving the weekly tickets he has a complete record 
of the picking for the season. The daily ticket should 
represent about 150 boxes, in convenient denominations. 
The weekly ticket should have space for the name and 

Picking and Packing 


number of the picker, the price paid a quart, the date on 
which it ends and the cash paid at the close of that week. 
If the picker loses his weekly ticket, the grower has the 
daily tickets to check it. Each picker should be required 
to write his name on the weekly ticket in ink ; then if it 
is lost, no one else can col- 
lect on it, for the name 
cannot be erased without 
detection. Some growers 
make the ticket payable 
to the picker whose name 
is written on it, so that no 
one else can collect on it. 

Another satisfactory 
method is to give the 
picker a ticket, and retain 
a duplicate, of a different 
color, at the packing shed. 
When the picker comes in, 
the two are placed together 
and punched ; there can 
be no dispute thereafter as 
to the number of boxes 




^ / ^^ 


Amount paid per lox „ ots.' 





Present tbls 





















i h 






























Fig. 15. — The Wallace 
Picking Record, daily ticket. 


How often to pay off is mainly a matter of expediency. 
Some pickers require a weekly settlement ; others can be 
carried to the end of the season. In some of the large 
shipping districts the growers issue aluminum " strawberry 
money" which is accepted at face value by local stores. 
If the picker is paid in full each Saturday, he may not re- 
turn on Monday. A better way is to withhold one-quarter 



cent or one-half cent a quart until the end of the season. 
A contract to this effect may be printed on the back of 
the tally card. 

The cost of picking ranges from one to three cents a 
quart, according to the abundance of the fruit, and how 
much the pickers can make in a day. It is best to estab- 
lish a uniform price for the season, and require all pickers 













pd per 


































Weekly Account of Berries 
Picked by 

Present this with your daily card 
at the close of each day. 

M , - 










1 Cral's 



ed per 































Wallace's Berry-Picking Record. 



Fig. 16. — The Wallace Berry Picking Record, weekly ticket. 

to remain ; a change in price in the middle of the season 
makes the pickers dissatisfied. The standard price in 
most sections is two cents a quart. Few growers could 
persuade their pickers to agree to the plan adopted by 
some Missouri growers in 1897. They paid one and one- 
fourth cents a box to pickers who remained the entire 
season, provided the berries netted $1.75 for a twenty- 
four quart crate; if more than this, one and one-half 
cents a box; if less, or if the pickers got tired or were 
discharged, one cent a box. 

i . M 

- y^'v-l; 


1 « vT| 

Plate XVI. Packing Sheds. — Top, at Norfolk, Virginia; center, at 
Vashon, Washington ; bottom, harvesting scene, Norfolk, Virginia. 

Picking and Packing 173 

In Florida and southern California, the harvest ex- 
tends over a long period and the daily pickings are not 
heavy; hence it often is necessary to pay three cents a 
quart. In late autumn, everbearing strawberries ripen 
very slowly and three cents is a fair price. Toward the 
end of the season, when berries run small and prices are 
low, allow families to go into the field and pick on shares, 
giving them one quart in four. In this way no money 
need be paid out and part of the crop is disposed of at a 
fair profit. 


The grading of strawberries is mostly a development of 
the past ten years. Before then they were shipped, for the 
most part, about as they were picked from the vines ; only 
the nubbins were rejected. Whether the berries are graded 
in the field or in a shed, or not graded at all, it is necessary 
to have some kind of temporary receiving station where 
they can be examined and put in the shade as soon as pos- 
sible. For field grading, the sheds should be located where 
the pickers can bring in the berries most conveniently ; 
there should be one shed for every four or five acres. 

Secure as cool a location as possible ; hot fingers "muss" 
the berries. Most packing sheds are temporary, inex- 
pensive structures. It is essential that there should be 
free circulation of air and protection from the sun. The 
side that is open to receive the fruit should face the north ; 
the other sides should be boarded down to within two feet 
of the ground. Plate XVI shows common types of sheds. 


Strawberries were "topped" many years before they 
were graded. Grading is an attempt to have all the 

174 Strawberry-Growing 

berries in the package approximately uniform in size, 
color and freedom from defects; topping may be merely 
placing a few choice berries on top of a box of inferior 
berries in an attempt to deceive the buyer. The deacon- 
ing or topping of strawberries has been as common as the 
over-facing of apples. At one time Florida growers used 
Hoffman to face boxes of Newman; many crates have 
been sent to market with Crescent on the bottom and 
Bubach on top. Growers who place the best baskets on 
the top of the crate and all the best berries on the top of 
the box overreach themselves. The standard in packing 
is rising constantly, not only as a matter of moral convic- 
tion, but also as a matter of policy. Dominion, provin- 
cial, federal, state and municipal regulations are exerting 
pressure in this direction. 

Field grading. 

In Florida, the Gulf states, the Ozark district and the 
Pacific Northwest, most of the output is graded at the 
packing shed ; elsewhere, mostly in the field by the 
pickers. Field grading is more economical than shed 
grading, provided the pickers can be trained to do it 
properly. After they have become accustomed to it, 
they will pick and grade nearly as many quarts a day 
as if all berries went into the same box. The fruit is 
handled less; every time berries are touched they are 
hurt for shipment. The berries are shaken down tightly 
by the picker in moving the carrier about; if they are 
sorted at the shed, they may be left in the boxes rather 
loose and will settle on the way to market, unless tightly 
faced. Field grading makes it possible to put the berries 
in a cool place very soon after they are picked. 

Rarely is it practicable to make more than two grades 

Picking and Packing 175 

in the field ; separate boxes are provided for these. If 
only one grade is made, pick the culls also and put them 
in a separate box. In this case the pickers should be paid 
the same price for culls as for No. 1 stock ; then there is 
no inducement to mix culls with good berries. When 
two merchantable grades are made besides the culls, 
some growers pay the pickers more for the smaller grade 
than for the larger. If field-graded berries are faced, 
this may be done by the pickers, also, but it is preferable 
to do it at the shed. The top layer may be merely re- 
arranged to give it an attractive appearance; or it may 
be faced uniformly, as detailed on page 178. Do not let 
pickers carry large strawberries in their hands or aprons 
to top off with, as this destroys the gloss. 

Each box of field-graded berries, or at least one box 
from each carrier, should be examined at the packing 
shed. Take the box in the left hand, place the right hand 
over the top and gently tip the box over far enough to see 
that the berries on the bottom and in the middle are as 
good as those on top ; then allow the berries to fall back 
into place gently with a reverse movement. 

Shed grading. 

When the fruit is to be shipped a long distance or when 
the pickers cannot be trusted to do the work well, shed 
grading and packing are necessary. In Florida, the 
fruit ripens very slowly during the winter months ; it is 
necessary to inspect each berry to be sure that it has not 
been gnawed by insects. 

Berries are graded to remove defective specimens and 
to secure uniformity in size and color. Berries of medium 
size sell well if uniform ; if a few large ones are mixed in, 
they detract from the appearance of the package. Ripe 

176 Strawberry-Growing 

berries should be sorted out and sold in near markets; 
under-ripe berries are shipped, and the off-grade stock 
used for by-products. Usually, from five to ten per cent 
of the berries as they come from the field are culls. 

Following are the grades of the Ozark Fruit Growers' 
Association : 

" ' Fancy ' berries shall be superior in size and general 
appearance and in addition possess the following char- 
acteristics : 

1. "The berries must be at least two-thirds or three- 
fourths colored. 

2. " They must be sound, dry and of good form. 

3. " The stem should be from one-half to three-fourths 
inch in length. 

" * No. 1 ' berries are those not up to the standard of 
Fancy, yet possessing the common characteristics re- 
quired for Fancy in rule 2 above ; also in rules 1 and 3, 
but perhaps in a less marked degree. 

"All berries not passing either of the above grades 
shall be rejected and will revert to the owner for disposal 
as he may direct." 

Shipping Associations in the Pacific Northwest allow 
nothing smaller than five by five berries to go into the 
Extra Fancy or Fancy grades. 

Some years ago, Florida and South Carolina growers 
used a grading machine consisting of an endless apron 
as wide as a quart box, revolving on wooden rollers. 
Machine grading now has been discarded. One of the 
simplest methods of hand grading is to spread a box of 
berries upon a sheet of manila paper about two feet 
square. It requires a knack to spread out the berries at 
one motion, so that they will not touch each other. The 
fancy berries are then picked out and put into one box, 


Plate XVII. Packing and Shipping. — Top right, three tier 
Clarks, W. J. Davis, N. Yakima, Washington ; top left, method of strip- 
ping crates in ventilator cars ; bottom, Florida berries, fancy grade on 
right. No. 1 grade on left. 

Picking and Packing 177 

and the second grade into another ; then the culls, leaves 
and dirt are put into the garbage box. Grading frames 
are now used almost exclusively. In the Pacific North- 
west, the more common type is a wooden frame three feet 
square, or three feet by four feet, two inches deep, with 
the bottom of netting or wire screening. The berries are 
spread thinly upon it and the two grades are picked out 
by hand. Florida growers prefer a frame one foot by four 
feet, with the bottom of wire netting covered with coarse 
burlap. In Missouri, a flat, shallow tin "culling scoop" is 
preferred. This tapers from ten inches in width at the 
handle to about 4^ inches at the other end and is twelve 
to fourteen inches long. It is provided with a receptacle 
for a strawberry box at the small end. Whatever the 
form of sorting receptacle used, the object is to expose 
all the berries so that the culls may be taken out without 
unnecessary handling of the salable stock. 

As they come from the field, the berries are likely to 
be more or less sandy if the plants were not mulched. 
Florida growers brush them gently with feathers after 
they are spread upon the sorting frame, and the sand sifts 
through the coarse burlap. Years ago berries were 
washed much more than at present. One of the best 
methods has been described by J. McHannon : "Make a 
number of boxes, each ten or twelve inches square, with 
sides and ends only ; for the bottom, use a piece of wire 
netting with a one-fourth inch mesh. Sink the boxes in 
a tub of clean water level to the top. Pour the berries 
into the water over the boxes, which should be raised and 
lowered two or three times. They need not remain in the 
water over a quarter of a minute. By pouring so that 
they fall in the water, they are not bruised at all." At 
present, berries are seldom washed. Washing takes 

178 Strawberry-Growing 

much time, and injures the shipping qualities of the 
berries; mulching is cheaper and equally effective. 


Berries are packed by the sorter, but sometimes the 
facing is done by another person. The box is filled nearly 
full with uniform berries and is tapped or shaken several 
times to settle them. After it is about half full, the berries 
are placed stems down so that the top layer will be level 
for the facers. Fill the boxes solidly, especially at the 
corners, or they will settle and be short weight. Only 
the facing layer is aligned. 


The object of facing, or " plating," is not to put all the 
best berries on top, but to make the box present an attrac- 
tive appearance and to pack the berries so they will not 
be shaken in transit. Facing is essential if the berries 
are to be shipped a long distance ; it is desirable even 
when they are to be sold in a near market. Boxes are 
faced by packing the berries in the top layer tightly to- 
gether. Round-conic berries, like the Clark and Aroma, 
are faced point up; this makes an attractive plate pro- 
vided the tips do not remain green. Long berries, like 
the Haverland, are faced on the side, with all stems ly- 
ing in one direction. Never face with stems up, as the 
hulls hide the berries. Varieties that have attractive 
green hulls should be placed on the side, as these add to 
the appearance of the face. Do not press the berries; 
simply lay them in snugly. The facing layer should be 
not over three-eighths of an inch above the top of the box, 
since boxes properly packed do not settle much. Any 

Picking and Packing 179 

berries that project beyond the side of the box will be 
crushed and the boxes stained. If the boxes are not 
faced, it is necessary to heap them slightly, so that they 
will be level when they reach market. Fill them so full 
that they will be gently pressed down when the cover of 
the crate is nailed on. 

Usually the facers are placed so that they will fit to- 
gether tightly without regard to alignment, but in some 
districts, especially in the Pacific Northwest, they are 
aligned each way, making four by four, five by five, or four 
by five tier boxes (Plate XVII) . This cannot be done unless 
the berries are quite uniform in size. Berries smaller than 
five tier should not be packed. If strawberry leaves are 
placed on the top boxes, do not let them project from the 
crate. One packer can sort and pack twelve to twenty 
twenty-four quart crates a day. Northwestern growers 
usually have one packer to three pickers. The price 
paid for packing at Plant City, Florida, is one cent a 
quart box ; at Vashon, Washington, ten cents a twenty- 
four quart crate ; at Hood River, Oregon, the person who 
faces but does not pack, is paid one-half cent a box. Each 
packer is furnished with a rubber stamp bearing his 
number, which is placed upon each crate he packs. 

Piece packing. 

The larger growers in the Ozark district pack by the 
piece system. The packing shed force is divided into 
cullers, packers, graders and shed inspector ; about two- 
thirds of the force cull and grade. The culler empties 
each box of berries as it comes from the field into the tin 
culling scoop, picks out the small, green, sandy, over- 
ripe and defective specimens, and puts those that remain 
back into the box from which they came. The packer 

180 Strawberry-Grovdng 

then shakes the box to settle it, adds more berries to fill 
it out at the corners, makes the top layer solid, and places 
it in the crate. The grader then determines from the 
size, appearance and "run" whether the crate should be 
branded "Fancy" or "No. 1." Those who grow fancy 
berries for a personal market give extra touches. Each 
box may be wrapped in a sheet of thin parchment or 
paraffin paper. This keeps out dust, and the berries 
carry better and keep their bright color longer. The 
paper is drawn over the box tightly, so that the berries do 
not shake, and the fruit shows through, making a very 
attractive package for a special trade. When berries are 
sold in the general market, the top layer in the crate may 
be covered with a single sheet of paper. 


The sooner berries are placed in a cool place after 
they are packed the better they will carry. The crates 
are placed in a cool part of the picking shed until a load 
is ready. If the interval between packing and shipping 
is long, a cooling room should be provided. A shed or 
side hill cellar may answer the purpose, especially if the 
walls are insulated. Place the crates on the floor, one 
layer deep, upon two by four inch scantling. Take the 
covers off or turn them cleats down, so that the air will 
circulate freely ; but keep off sun and wind, both of which 
discolor berries. After they have been exposed in this 
way through a cool night, the berries carry better than if 
they had been shipped the day before, while still warm 
from the vines. Irrigation water may be run on the floor 
of the cooling room. Various types of ice-cooled rooms 
are used to a slight extent. If possible, maintain a tem- 
perature of forty-five to fifty degrees in the cooling room. 

Picking and Packing 181 

The covers to the crate should be fastened on securely, 
with twopenny nails. This should be done on a solid 
place, so that there will be little jar. Do not scrawl on the 
crate with a colored pencil; use a neat rubber stamp or 
stencil. The name of the grower, the variety and the 
grade should be stenciled upon each crate. Take the 
crates to the depot on spring wagons. Time devoted to 
making a smooth road bed between packing shed and 
depot is well spent. 


Most men find it more difiicult to sell strawberries to 
advantage than to grow them. The business instinct is 
not necessarily associated with the cultural instinct; in 
fact, the two faculties seldom are present to an equal 
degree in the same person. There have been marked 
changes in selling methods since the beginning of com- 
mercial strawberry-culture. Until about 1840, each 
grower was obliged to peddle his fruit from house to house. 
Now a large proportion of growers delegate the sale of 
their fruit to business men employed for this purpose. 
Before 1840, the radius of strawberry-culture from the 
market was limited by the distance that could be covered 
in a few hours with the market wagon. The remarkable 
expansion of railroads between 1850 and 1870 made it 
possible to grow strawberries at greater distance from 
market. At that time, strawberries were shipped almost 
wholly in express and ventilator cars, and 600 miles was 
considered the limit of safety. By this time the com- 
mission man had become a necessity. The first successful 
use of refrigerator cars, in 1887, provided a means of 
transportation that has made it possible for the grower 
and consumer to live still farther apart, and has made 
necessary other intermediaries between the two. 

There are two main types of markets ; the general or 


Marketing 183 

wholesale, and the personal or retail. In the former, the 
grower does not deal directly with the consumer. He 
sells or consigns to a wholesale dealer, who parcels out 
the fruit to various retail dealers or grocers ; these sell it 
to the consumer. Sometimes there are three or four 
salesmen between the grower and the consumer. This is 
the only type of marketing that is practicable in large 
commercial operations, especially when the fruit is grown 
at a considerable distance from the market. A grower 
has a personal market when he sells to the consumer or to 
a retailer. It is used only when the amount of fruit is 
comparatively small, and chiefly by growers who live 
close to towns and small cities. It is essential that the 
grower shall decide, before he enters the business, to 
which type of market he will cater. His choice of loca- 
tion, varieties and methods of culture will be determined 
largely by the market sought. 


For the small grower, a personal market in a near town 
is preferable to a wholesale market in a distant city, be- 
cause he runs less risk. It is a mistake for the small 
grower to consign express shipments to middlemen in 
distant cities ; transportation charges and commissions 
eat up the profits. There are thousands of towns with a 
population of 500 to 5000 where the strawberry-eating 
habit is comparatively undeveloped. The average town 
of 500 to 1000 people will use fifteen to twenty-five twenty- 
four quart cases a day during the berry season. The man 
who grows berries for a town of 5000 will find that two 
acres, intensively cultivated, are enough for a begin- 
ning. This should provide 10,000 to 20,000 boxes and 

184 Strawberry-Gromng 

keep two delivery wagons busy. It is a mistake to ship 
the best berries and try to sell the second grade and 
culls locally. 

Selling through retail dealers. 

The most satisfactory method, when not more than 
five acres are grown, is to arrange with a grocer or fruiterer 
to retail them. If the town is small, give one man ex- 
clusive sale; in larger towns, have three or four repre- 
sentatives. The wholesale dealer has a commission of six 
to ten per cent, but the retailer must have twenty per 
cent to make a profit. Put an advertisement in the local 
papers, directing consumers to the dealers who handle 
the berries. Elmer G. Tufts, of Indiana, tells of the 
methods that have been successful with him : ^ " Arrange 
with three or four retail grocery men or fruiterers to sell 
your berries. Watch the wholesale market and price the 
berries to them ten to twenty cents a crate higher. They 
should be paid a percentage of the retail price. Deliver 
the berries every morning, if possible, and establish the 
retail price for that day ; do not allow the retailer to sell 
for less without your consent. The same grade of berries 
should be sold at the same price at all the stores. If it 
becomes necessary to reduce the price during the day, 
telephone each retailer. When berries are scarce, divide 
them among the retailers fairly. If there is a glut, make 
the price low enough so they can sell the berries anyhow. 
Use the sectional trays which can be taken apart to dis- 
play the berries. In the bottom of every quart of the 
two better grades put a neatly printed card, giving your 
name and address and where the same kind of berries 
can be secured each day." 

1 Kept. Ind. Hort. Soc, 1903, pp. 90-4. 

Marketing 185 

The card is shown below: 

These berries are grown by 


You can secure a fresh supply every 

day by buying those grown by 


Aurora Indiana. 

If part of the crop is sold to consumers at the farm, the 
price should be the same as that charged by the town 
dealers. Some growers provide the retailers with inex- 
pensive wire box carriers, each holding two boxes, so that 
the buyer can take them home easily. 

House-to-house selling. 

Special conditions are necessary for success in selling 
direct to consumers. Rarely is it practicable when more 
than two acres are grown. There are a number of ad- 
vantages. The grower secures the retailers' profit and 
saves part of the expense of baskets and crates. The 
berries reach the consumer quicker and in better condition. 
On the other hand, direct sales involve much additional 
labor; some other part of the work may be slighted, 
especially the packing, and there are sure to be some bad 

Some of the essentials to success in house-to-house sell- 
ing have been stated by R. M. Kellogg : " Have a beau- 
tifully painted wagon, a shiny black horse and heavy, 
brass-trimmed harness, kept polished like gold. Have a 
four-page circular printed in two colors describing what 
will be offered; hand this circular to every lady in the 

186 Strawberry-Growing 

town. Put a conspicuous advertisement in the local 
papers. Then have some family tickets printed, so that 
each family will be able to keep its own account and will 
need to pay but once a week. Have different varieties 
to tempt different appetites. Cut prices when consump- 
tion lags. It is hard work, but it pays ; you may be able 
to get three or five cents more a quart than if you per- 
mitted local grocerymen to handle them." The motor 
truck has largely superseded the horse and wagon for 
this purpose. The grower who seeks a personal market 
should have neat business stationery, attractive labels, 
and adopt any other practicable advertising devices. 
The success of sales direct to consumers depends chiefly 
on the personality of the grower. He must not only 
grow good berries, but also be a good advertiser and busi- 
ness man. Comparatively few are fitted for this arduous 


Strawberries are shipped to a wholesale market by 
express, ventilator cars, refrigerator cars and by boat. 
It is imperative that they reach the market before four 
A.M., so that they will be ready for the early morning 
trade. If the supply is heavy, prices may drop twenty- 
five cents a crate between five a.m. and seven a.m. ; by 
eight o'clock the market is practically over for the day, 
and berries arriving late may be sacrificed to peddlers. 


When there is less than a carload, the crates are shipped 
by express. Express is used chiefly for small shipments 
early in the season, when the pickings are light and prices 

Marketing 187 

high. Express is the most rapid means of transportation, 
but sometimes the rates are so high as to be almost pro- 
hibitive. The crates may be handled roughly, since they 
are loaded and unloaded hurriedly, while the train is wait- 
ing. No provision is made for spacing them in the car, 
so as to insure ventilation. Strawberries can be shipped 
by express without refrigeration when they will reach 
the market within twenty-four hours. If the weather is 
cool and dry, express shipments may be on the road forty- 
eight hours, but the risk is great. In warm weather, 
small quantities of berries are shipped by express in re- 
frigerator chests, particularly from Florida and Cali- 
fornia. It is safer to use refrigerators if the fruit is 
to be on the road more than twenty-four hours ; but 
strawberries have been shipped successfully in refrig- 
erator chests from Hood River, Oregon, to Hong Kong. 
The name of the grower should be stenciled on the upper 
left hand corner of the cover. The name and address of 
the consignee should be stenciled plainly on both ends 
of every crate. The crates should be stout and securely 
nailed ; the light gift crates frequently break in shipment. 

Ventilator cars. 

These are used for shipping car-lots of berries to points 
not over forty-eight hours distant; in hot weather, 
not over twenty-four hours. They have screen-covered 
vents which, if kept open, give a circulation of air inside 
the car. If the air circulates freely, the berries carry 
somewhat better than by express. The cars are filled 
four to six tiers high, according to the size of the crates. 
The berries in the top tier carry poorest, because these 
crates rock most. Even districts that are comparatively 
close to market, as the Delaware-Maryland peninsula, 

188 Strawberry-Growing 

use refrigerator cars more than formerly. Many railroads 
run special strawberry trains of ventilator and refrigera- 
tor cars on passenger schedule and do not load them 
down with other traffic. 

In loading a car the crates should be braced, so that 
they will not shuffle, and so that there will be an air 
space around each crate. The method is described by 
F. S. Earle : ^ " Begin the load in either end by laying 
down a row of packages with their ends snug against the 
end of the car, but with three to six inch spaces between 
them. Two half-inch strips, as long as the car is wide, 
are laid down on the row of packages, one at the front and 
one at the back (Plate XVII). These are nailed down by 
a small nail driven into the ends or heads of the crates or 
boxes. Another layer of packages is placed on these 
strips, taking care to put each box directly over the one 
below it, so as to preserve the air spaces from bottom to 
top of car. Strips are nailed on these as before, and other 
layers of packages are added until the desired height is 
reached. Another tier is then started in the same way, 
taking care to jam the ends of the packages squarely 
against those of the front tier, so as to preserve the air 
spaces intact, not only from top to bottom, but also from 
end to end of the car. When the car is in motion a cur- 
rent of air comes in at the front end ventilators and passes 
through between the tiers of packages without interrup- 
tion, and escapes at the rear ventilators. Side ventila- 
tion is usually provided also ; but it is much less important 
than that from end to end. 

"When the middle of the car is reached it becomes 
necessary, unless the packages chance to closely fill the 
space, to brace the piles solidly to prevent their shifting 

» U. S. Dept. of Agr. Yearbook, 1900, pp. 442-3. 

Marketing 189 

by the bumping of the ears in switching or in starting 
and stopping. This is done by placing pieces of six-inch 
fence boards upright against each tier of packages, on 
either side, and reaching from the floor to the top of the 
car. Stout cross-strips are nailed to these uprights a 
foot or so from the floor and from the top. Braces are 
sawed about an inch longer than the measured distance 
between these opposing sets of cross bars. The brace 
pieces are put in place and are driven forcibly home. 
This settles the load together very solidly. The braces 
are toe-nailed in place to prevent the possibility of their 
becoming loosened and dropping down. When thus 
loaded, nothing short of a collision can cause the load to 
shift ; yet no two packages are in contact except at the 
ends, each being surrounded by a rapidly moving current 
of air as long as the car is in motion." 

When twenty-four quart crates are used, a load is 510 
to 600 crates, occasionally 630, other sizes in proportion. 
The smaller the load, the better it will carry. Recently 
some railroads have reduced the minimum load from 
15,000 to 12,000 pounds. 

Refrigerator cars. 

More than half of the berries that are marketed are 
shipped in refrigerator cars. The time that strawberries 
can be held in them depends on the conditions under 
which the fruit was grown, the variety, how ripe the 
berries were when put into the car, the package used, and 
the care in loading and icing. Ordinarily, it is safe to 
hold them four or five days ; under very favorable condi- 
tions they can be shipped to markets six to ten days 
distant. Hood River Valley growers sometimes ship 
Clarks to Alaska and to New York and Boston. In 1914 

190 Strawberry-Growing 

strawberries were shipped from the Tangipahoa district, 
Louisiana, to Alaska. 

The modern refrigerator car is thoroughly insulated. 
It has double walls, doors and roof, with the space be- 
tween filled with several thicknesses of building paper, 
or other non-conducting material. If the ice boxes are 
replenished frequently, the temperature should not vary 
more than four or five degrees between shipping point and 
destination. It is unimportant whether the ice boxes 
are at the ends or overhead. The car is iced from the 
outside, and the melted water is carried off without enter- 
ing the car, so that the berries are kept dry as well as cool. 
The temperature is held around forty-five degrees. About 
five tons of ice are required to ice a car. Refrigerator 
lines operating in a commercial strawberry district must 
provide adequate facilities for marketing the crop. The 
failure of the Armour Car Line to furnish refrigerator cars 
in 1905 for the strawberry-growers along the Atlantic coast 
lines cost the company over $100,000 in damage claims. 

Only sound, firm, under-ripe berries should go into a 
refrigerator car. Refrigeration does not improve berries ; 
if they are soft when they go in, they will be mouldy and 
"leaky" when they reach market. Refrigeration merely 
retards the processes of ripening and decay. A refrigera- 
tor car is loaded in the same way as a ventilator car. 
A continuous circulation of cold, dry air passes over 
the berries. Before shipping, examine the drip pans 
to be sure they are not so choked with dirt that the 
melting ice will flood the car. The car is iced twelve to 
fifteen hours before it is loaded. In hot weather, the 
ice bunkers may need refilling before the car is shipped, 
especially if the berries are not pre-cooled. Stations for 
re-icing should be so placed that the car will be examined 

Plate XVIII. — Above, shipping shed of a cooperative association 
near Los Angeles, California ; below, small schooner bringing strawberries 
to the Norfolk, Virginia, dock, to be shipped north by steamboat. 

Marketing 191 

within twelve hours from the time it is shipped, and 
every twenty-four to thirty-six hours thereafter. 

Water transportation. 

This is confined mainly to shipping points on the South 
Atlantic coast, notably from the Chesapeake Bay dis- 
trict ; also from southern Michigan to Chicago and other 
lake points. A considerable quantity of berries is shipped 
locally on various rivers. Water transportation is some- 
what cheaper than rail and the berries carry better, be- 
cause there is less dirt, heat and jolting. The berries are 
kept at a temperature of about forty-five degrees, by cakes 
of ice placed behind slats around the sides of the hold. 
The Old Dominion Line from Norfolk frequently carries 
5000 sixty-quart crates a day to northern cities. Most 
of these are brought to the steamboat in small schooners, 
from strawberry fields that border estuaries many miles 
distant (Plate XVIII). 


If a car is loaded with warm berries, the temperature 
may rise ten to twenty degrees, and it is a day or more 
before all the berries are cooled to a point where decay, 
is arrested. If possible, pick only in the cool of the morn- 
ing. Set the crates in a cooling room for an hour or two 
after they are packed. Berries may be brought to a uni- 
form low temperature before the car leaves the shipping 
point by pre-cooling. 

P re-cooling methods. 

There are two methods of pre-cooling ; to place the 
fruit in a cold room before loading, or to blow cold air 

192 Strawberry-Growing 

through the loaded cars. The cooling room should be 
heavily insulated and a temperature somewhat below 
freezing maintained, usually about twenty-three degrees. 
The refrigerator car and the cooling room are connected 
with a canvas hood so that the fruit does not become 
warm when loading. A plant costing about $1500 will 
cool one or two cars daily. In the cold air blast method, 
large fans force air over ammonia or brine refrigerating 
coils ; then it is conducted into the car near the middle and 
distributed by means of deflectors and baffles. It is with- 
drawn from the car through the end hatches by an ex- 
haust and then passes over the cold coils again. To 
pre-cool a car In four or five hours, a temperature of 
eight to ten degrees must be maintained. It is difficult 
to cool the entire load uniformly. As soon as the berries 
in the middle of the packages reach a temperature of 
thirty-five or forty degrees, which is as low as they 
can be held in transit, the air blast is shut off and the 
hatches closed. Pre-cooling is desirable when straw- 
berries are to be shipped a long distance, but it has 
been used very little thus far, mainly because of the 
expense. The cooling-room method is practicable for 
large growers or small shipping associations; the chief 
disadvantage is that it necessitates an extra handling 
of the fruit. The equipment required for air-blast pre- 
cooling is so expensive that it is practicable only for 
the largest shipping associations and for transportation 

Cold storage. 

When berries are shipped to reach the market on 
Saturday they should be in refrigerator cars so that if 
necessary they may be carried over Sunday in the car. 

Marketing 193 

In the large markets strawberries are stored for one to 
three days only, to prevent loss during a glut, or to carry 
them over Sunday or a holiday. Perhaps the most com- 
mon use of storage is to hold berries that are to be canned. 
In 1902-3 the United States Department of Agriculture 
conducted experiments on the cold storage of straw- 
berries, and reported : " In view of the difficulties in- 
volved in storing and the long season during which fresh- 
picked supplies can be obtained from various sections of 
the country, it will continue to be restricted mainly to 
the preservation of the fruit for a brief period when other- 
wise it would be lost. Strawberries handled under good 
commercial conditions kept from one to two weeks in 
good condition so far as appearance was concerned, but 
the flavor usually began to deteriorate after three or four 
days. Some of the firm-fleshed varieties, like Gandy, 
kept even longer than two weeks. Strawberries which 
have been stored for several days usually begin to break 
down within ten to twelve hours after removal from 
storage. The fruit kept best if picked when mature and 
fully colored, but still firm." ^ 


Until 1840, the strawberry season in northern cities 
was barely six weeks, — June and strawberries came 
together. The first extension of the season came with 
the marketing of early berries from New Jersey. Soon 
after, Delaware and Maryland entered the field, and by 
1860 Norfolk had begun to compete. After the Civil 
War, swift steamers gave Charleston, South Carolina, a 

1 S. H. Fulton, Bui. 108, Bu. Plant Ind., U. S. D. A. (1907), pp. 7-23 ; 
also Rept. Md. Hort. Soc, 1904, pp. 98-102. 

194 Strawherry-Groioing 

chance to reach northern markets. By 1885 Thomas- 
ville, Georgia, and northern Florida were shipping steadily. 
In the Mississippi Valley, there was a similar extension 
of the industry southward to supply the Chicago market, 
beginning with Berrien County, Michigan, and southern 
Illinois, thence by degrees to Tennessee, Missouri, Arkan- 
sas, Louisiana and Texas. 

Influence of weather on the season. 

Normally, there is a fairly well defined succession in 
the ripening periods of the different districts, from South 
to North ; but this may be upset completely by the 
weather, as has been stated by a Florida grower : ^ " Sup- 
pose a frost comes sweeping down over the state, killing 
most of the bloom. Under favorable circumstances, we 
may look for ripe fruit about three weeks after the bloom 
opens. Suppose, after the frost, we have three or four 
weeks of warm weather. The result is that, instead of 
the fruit coming on at its natural time at each point, the 
state throws its whole crop on the market at one time, 
and there is a glut." J. S. Lapham, of Delaware, de- 
scribes the disastrous season of 1903 : ^ " Early berries, 
cut off in large proportion by the frosts, bloomed again. 
Helped on by rains, which at last came, they yielded 
heavily with the Gandy, our standard late berry. This 
semi-second crop, maturing out of its proper season, was 
dumped upon the dealers when there was not a thing 
they could do with it. The railroads, unprepared for 
this emergency, quickly exhausted their stock of refriger- 
ator cars and also made late deliveries. Ventilator cars 
filled with this fruit were dumped upon the market and 

1 Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc, 1897, pp. 107-11. 
* Rept. Peninsula Hort. Soc, 1904, p. 61. 

Marketing 195 

sold promptly, in some cases, for one cent a quart straight 

The procession of shipping districts in the market. 

In any large city, fresh strawberries can be bought 
any month of the year and are abundant about six months 
of the year. There are fewer strawberries on eastern 
markets in October and November than at any other 
time, but limited quantities come from California, and 
occasionally some from Mexico. A few berries from 
forced plants are sold to a very limited trade in Novem- 
ber and December. The first berries from the Plant 
City district, Florida, appear in northern cities early 
in December; by Christmas the supply is adequate 
for the holiday trade. If not too green, they sell for 
seventy-five cents to one dollar a quart. During January 
and February Florida shipments increase steadily, mainly 
from the northern part of the state, and the price falls to 
thirty-five to fifty cents a quart. Florida growers have 
possession of the market until about March first, when 
southern Texas and Louisiana begin to send Klondikes 
in twenty-four pint cases. These sell for $2.50 to $3 a 
case; immediately Florida berries drop to twenty-five 
cents a quart. By the middle of March, Louisiana berries 
are going forward in car-lots and sell for $L75 to $2,25 a 
twenty-four pint case. The first berries from southern 
Mississippi and Alabama are now on the market, at $3.50 
to $4.50 a twenty-four quart case. By the last of March, 
Louisiana, Texas, central Mississippi and Alabama are 
shipping steadily, but Florida offerings are beginning to 
decline, as the berries are getting soft ; they sell for ten 
to fifteen cents a quart, wholesale, which hardly pays for 
picking them. North and South Carolina and Arkansas 

196 Strawberry-Growing 

berries come in the first week in April, west Tennessee 
a few days later, Florida berries disappear from the 
market about the fifteenth of April. By the last week in 
April, Arkansas and North Carolina are shipping in re- 
frigerator cars ; Louisiana berries have begun to get soft 
and are not quoted. The second week in May usually 
closes the season for Alabama, central and southern 
Arkansas, Mississippi and the Carolinas; these districts 
still have berries to sell, but are forced to relinquish the 
market to the Ozark region, Kentucky, Tennessee and 
Virginia. The immense production of the Delaware- 
Marjdand peninsula is on the market from the middle of 
May until the middle of June. Northern growers have the 
market until the middle or last of July. Oswego County, 
New York, and Nova Scotia do not close their season 
until about the first of August ; while Steamboat Springs, 
Colorado, ships until September first. Southern California 
markets strawberries in limited quantity in eastern cities 
through October and November, and the everbearing 
varieties provide fruit in home gardens until Thanksgiving, 
meeting the first arrivals from Florida. Thus, we have, 
in fact, strawberries the year around. The strawberry 
rivals the apple, banana and orange, in the period that 
it can be obtained in the market in fresh condition. 

The demand for the strawberry out of what has been 
considered its normal season, — that is, at times other 
than early spring, — seems to be increasing somewhat, 
but it cannot be expected that there will be a heavy 
demand in late summer and fall, when so many other 
fruits are available, or in early winter, when prices are 
very high. The bulk of the sales will continue to be 
during the months of March, April, May and June, with 
small quantities at other seasons. 

Marketing 197 

Normal shipping seasons of the different districts. 

The shipping seasons of the principal strawberry dis- 
tricts in the United States, as compiled by the OflSce of 
Markets, United States Department of Agriculture, are 
given below.^ The list includes only those districts that 
ship in car-lots ; the output of the great body of com- 
mercial planting in Pennsylvania, New York, Massa- 
chusetts and other northern states is handled in near-by 
markets in less than car-lot quantities, and is not included : 

Alabama, Castleberry district, April 15 to June 1. 

" York district, April 15 to June 1. 

" Cullman district, April 15 to June 1. 

" Thorsby district, April 20 to June 1. 

Arkansas, Southwest district, April 25 to June 1. 

" Judsonia district, April 25 to June 5. 

" Ozark district, May 1 to June 5. 

California, Los Angeles district, March 1 to December 1. 

" Sacramento district, March 25 to August 15. 

" Placer County district, April 1 to June 1. 

" Fresno district, April 1 to August 15. 

" Santa Clara and Santa Cruz districts, April 1 to 

December 1. 

" Siskiyou district. May 20 to July 15. 

Colorado, May 20 to September 1. 
Connecticut, June 15 to July 1. 
Delaware, May 15 to June 20. 
Florida, Plant City district, December 1 to April 1. 

" Stark district, February 10 to May 15. 
Illinois, May 15 to June 20. 
Indiana, May 25 to June 25. 
Iowa, June 1 to June 20. 
Kansas, May 20 to June 20. 
Kentucky, May 10 to June 10. 
Louisiana, March 15 to May 20. 
Maryland, May 15 to June 30. 
Michigan, June 1 to July 18. 
Minnesota, June 20 to July 10. 

» Bui. 237 (1915), "Strawberry Supply and Distribution in 1914," by 
W. A. Sherman, et al. 

198 Strawberry-Groicing 

Mississippi, Gulf district, March 20 to May 15. 
*' Osyka district, April 1 to May 15. 

" Sanford district, April 10 to May 15. 

" Lauderdale district, April 15 to June 1. 

Durant district, April 20 to May 20. 
Missouri, Ozark district, May 15 to June 20. 
New Jersey, May 25 to June 25. 
New York, June 1 to July 1. 
North Carolina, April 15 to June 1. 
Ohio, June 1 to June 25. 
Oklahoma, May 10 to June 10. 
Oregon, May 25 to July 15. 
South Carolina, April 12 to May 25. 
Tennessee, Chattanooga district, May 1 to June 5. 

" Dyer-Sharon-Humbolt district. May 1 to June 5. 

Texas, Alvin district, March 1 to May 15. 

" Artesian Belt district, March 1 to May 15. 
" Tyler district, April 1 to May 10. 
Utah, June 5 to July 1. 
Virginia, Norfolk district. May 1 to June 1. 
" Albemarle district. May 1 to June 5. 
" Eastern Shore district, May 5 to June 5. 
Washington, May 20 to July 15. 
Wisconsin, June 5 to July 15. 


The strawberry is quickly perishable, and the straw- 
berry market is notoriously mercurial. To distribute and 
sell a large quantity of strawberries at advantageous 
prices requires business judgment of a high order. In 
general, there are two methods of selling strawberries in 
the wholesale market, — by consignment to commission 
men and by sales f .o.b. loading station or destination. 


Until quite recently, nearly all the sales were by con- 
signment. The chief advantage is that the grower re- 
ceives, or should receive, the full benefit of the market 

Marketing 199 

on the day his berries arrive, whether prices are high or 
low. The commission man reUeves the grower of all re- 
sponsibility and anxiety about the sale of the berries, 
except the anxiety as to net returns. The grower as- 
sumes all the risk, the commission man none. The 
grower takes the chance of loss or damage in transit, the 
chance of glutted markets, the chance of dishonest com- 
mission men. He has no check on the middleman what- 
ever ; if dishonest, it is easy for him to pocket part of the 
proceeds, and telegraph "Berries arrived in bad condi- 
tion." On the other hand, shippers sometimes fail to 
realize that berries which left them in good condition may 
be in bad condition when they reach the market, because 
they were not packed or handled properly. There are 
honest and dishonest commission men about in the pro- 
portion that there are honest and dishonest growers ; the 
inexperienced grower should not consign berries to a 
middleman in a distant city without first looking up his 
business standing and bank references. Ship to one 
firm in a market, year after year. It takes time to work 
up a trade for a special brand of berries and a reputation 
for an honest pack. The shipper loses the benefit of it 
if he changes his selling agent frequently. It is a mis- 
take to divide shipments among several commission 
men in the same market in order to see which firm will 
make the highest returns. This gives no information 
that is reliable and destroys the confidence that should 
exist between the shipper and his selling agent. Insist 
that the commission man shall make an itemized state- 
ment of sales by varieties. The usual commission on 
small lots is ten per cent; on large lots six to eight 
per cent. This is a reasonable charge for the service 

200 Strawherry-Growing 

Sales f.o.b. shipping point. 

Recently there has been a decided increase in sales 
f.o.b. shipping point, especially in the Delaware-Mary- 
land peninsula, the Ozark district and throughout the 
South. When he consigns, the grower pays all the bills, 
whether he gets a fair price for the berries or not. 
The railroad does not take cognizance of a low selling 
price, neither does the commission man, the box fac- 
tory, the fertilizer dealer or the pickers. The plan of sell- 
ing f.o.b. shipping point relieves the grower of the risks 
of transportation and marketing. He seldom receives 
as high returns from track sales as he gets occasionally on 
consignment, but the average is better and much of the 
worry of the business is eliminated. 

This method is practicable only at large shipping points 
which attract buyers. The buyer may deal with the 
individual grower, and purchase wagon loads of berries 
as they arrive at the shipping point. A cooperative asso- 
ciation may sell the berries of its members at public 
auction ; this is a better way to secure their full market 
value. If the bids are satisfactory, the grower returns 
home with the money in his pocket ; if not, he may con- 
sign them through the association. Shipping associa- 
tions that have established a reputation for their pack 
sell most of their output in car-lots f.o.b. shipping point, 
on quotations to dealers in distant markets. The chief 
disadvantage of f.o.b. sales is the possibility that the 
several buyers at one shipping point may reach an under- 
standing with each other not to pay over a certain price, 
regardless of the quality of the berries offered or the con- 
dition of the respective markets which the buyers repre- 
sent. Alert growers will recognize when such an agree- 
ment in restraint of trade has been entered into, and 

Marketing 201 

should cooperate in refusing to accept unfair prices. The 
advantages of f .o.b. sales far outweigh the disadvantages. 
Sales f.o.b. destination, with privilege of inspection, are 
seldom practicable with strawberries; the fruit is so 
perishable that if the car is rejected there is little oppor- 
tunity for the shipper to handle it to advantage. 


Cooperation is more widely practiced and has been 
more successful in marketing strawberries than any other 
fruit except the orange. Most of the shipping associa- 
tions are in the South and West ; north of the Delaware- 
Maryland peninsula, there is little cooperative effort and 
less necessity for it, since most of the fruit goes to near or 
personal markets. Most of the early attempts at co- 
operation, between 1870 and 1885, failed because there 
was little or no effort to secure a uniform pack. Coopera- 
tive effort is not likely to succeed as long as most of the 
growers in a community are receiving profitable returns 
from sales made individually. Cooperation is born of 
dissatisfaction with existing conditions, and usually of 
dire necessity. 

Types of selling associations. 

There are two types of selling associations. In one, 
the fruit of each member is kept separate from that of 
all others, although several lots may be shipped in the 
same car ; his returns depend on the quality of his fruit 
and pack. In the other, all the berries of the same variety 
and grade grown by different members are pooled and 
. sold under the brand of the association, and the returns 
are pro-rated to the grower according to the number of 

202 Strawberry-Growing 

packages he contributed to that grade. The first type 
undertakes merely to get the fruit to market, not to set a 
price on it and sell it. This plan originated at Centralia, 
Illinois, about 1887, and has been used extensively in the 

The advantages of a forwarding association, and the 
methods used, have been stated by F. S. Earle:^ "The 
smaller growers at large shipping centers find it difficult 
to load in car-lots and thus secure low freight rates and 
prompt service. To obviate this difficulty a form of 
shipping association was early devised by which all or a 
number of shippers at any given point combine in loading 
cars. A loading and an unloading agent are appointed. 
The former receives the berries as they come from the 
farms, sees that they are properly loaded, makes out a 
manifest for each car showing the number of packages 
from each shipper to each consignee, and bills the car to 
the unloading agent. The entire load thus goes as a 
single shipment to one consignee, although it may con- 
tain berries from a hundred shippers, marked to one- 
fourth as many commission merchants in the same city. 
On the arrival of the car the unloading agent pays the 
freight and promptly unloads them, delivering the goods 
to the various commission houses, from whom he collects 
pro-rata for the freight and the loading and unloading 
charges. The same unloading agent usually acts for a 
number of shipping associations, so that his charges are \ 
reduced to the minimum." The Southern Produce Com- 
pany, of Norfolk, Virginia, illustrates a slightly different 
type of forwarding association. This company attends 
to the loading, icing and routing of the berries, but the 
grower directs to whom they shall be consigned. The 

» Yearbook, U. S. Dept. Agr., 1900, p. 449. 

Marketing 203 

commission man takes six per cent of the sales and returns 
the balance to the grower, who then pays the Southern 
Produce Company for its services. Forwarding associa- 
tions are being gradually superseded by pooling associa- 

Pooling associations are examples of real cooperation, 
in that all the berries are sold under the association brand, 
and the members divide the proceeds, share and share 
alike, in proportion to the amount of fruit they have con- 
tributed to each pool. A pool consists of berries of one 
variety and one grade ; all "fancy" Klondikes are in one 
pool and all "No. 1" Klondikes in another. The pool 
may be daily, weekly or seasonal, usually the latter. One 
or more executive oflficers are employed to supervise 
packing and loading and to sell the berries. The grower 
relinquishes his right to direct the disposition of his fruit 
when he leaves it at the shipping shed. 

Essentials to success in cooperative marketing. 

Shipping associations are not likely to succeed except 
under the following conditions : 

(1) The grading and packing must be under the supervi- 
sion of the association, not left to the individual members. 

(2) The members must be obligated to ship all their 
berries, except such as are needed for home use, through 
the association. 

(3) There must be a large quantity of berries of similar 
variety and grade. 

(4) The association must be democratic; each mem- 
ber should have but one vote, regardless of the amount 
of stock that he owns. Unless these conditions are 
provided, the grade of fruit may be lowered if it is 
pooled. The grower realizes that the identity of his 

204 Strawberry-Groioing 

fruit is lost in the pool, and may be tempted to cut 
down the cultural operations to the lowest possible point 
that will enable him barely to get his berries into 
the pool. 

The most difficult feature is to secure a uniform pack. 
When the growers live close together, and the quantity 
of berries shipped is not large, it may be possible to use 
one or more central packing houses. This method is 
more expensive than packing on the farm, and good roads 
are essential. In most cases it is necessary to pack on the 
farm. The association may train a body of packers and 
send them to the different members; or it may supply 
each member with printed picking and packing rules. 
In either case, the brand of the association is stamped 
upon the crate only after it has been inspected at the car 
door. Rejected berries are turned back to the grower for 
such disposition as he may wish ; some associations con- 
sign them. The wholesale market wants straight car- 
lots of a single variety and grade. The most successful 
associations ship one variety almost exclusively, as the 
Klondike in Louisiana, the Aroma in Missouri and the 
Clark in Oregon. This means that the organization 
should be local, composed of neighbors with similar con- 
ditions of soil and climate and the same varieties. The 
more compact it is, the easier it will be to secure uni- 
formity in pack and unanimity concerning the conduct 
of the association. 

Sales methods in an association. 

The utmost importance is attached to the choice of a 
business manager. Secure an experienced business man 
from elsewhere, preferably one who has been identified 
with the wholesale produce trade. If he is to serve the 

Marketing 205 

members efficiently he will need their staunch support 
at all times. The association sells to the wholesale trade 
in car-lots, rarely to retail dealers. The cars are sold 
f.o.b. shipping point, f.o.b. destination with privilege 
of inspection, by consignment to a commission house, or by 
consignment to an agent of the association in a distant 
market, to be sold by him on arrival. The more closely 
the sales approach an f.o.b. shipping point basis, the 
better. This is especially true of the small association, 
which cannot afford to take the heavy risk in marketing 
by consignment, unless it has such a small quantity of 
berries that f.o.b. buyers are not attracted. The charge 
made by a shipping association for inspecting, loading and 
selling may be a flat price of five to ten cents a twenty- 
four quart crate or a percentage of the selling price, usually 
two or three per cent. The value of a cooperative asso- 
ciation to the growers is not confined to selling the fruit. 
It buys fertilizer and packing material in car-lots at a 
considerable saving. It keeps the members posted on 
the best cultural practice, and acts as security for those 
who need cash to pay for packages or picking. It stimu- 
lates enterprise on matters of community interest, other 
than the berry business. 

Federation of local shipping associations. 

Local associations in different parts of the same district 
may find it advantageous to federate, in order to secure 
a better distribution of the crop and to prevent competi- 
tion among themselves. This is illustrated by the experi- 
ence of the Ozark district, from which about 1000 cars 
are marketed in a season of less than a month. At one 
time each of the 100 associations shipped independently, 
without knowing to what markets the other associations 

206 Strawberry-Growing 

were shipping on the same day.^ The result was a very 
unequal distribution of the crop and very poor returns 
some years. Returns as low as twenty cents for a twenty- 
four quart crate were not uncommon. It became evi- 
dent that if the Ozark berry business were to survive 
there must be a central organization to distribute the 
fruit. In 1905 the Ozark Fruit Growers' Association was 
formed for that purpose. How effectively this has been 
accomplished is shown by the net returns. In 1904, the 
average returns of twelve local associations was ninety 
cents a crate. In 1905, the first year of the federation, 
the average returns were $1.10; in 1906, $1.32; in 1907, 
$2.13; in 1908, $1.80; in 1909, $1.93; in 1910, $2.31. 
Each local association has a manager or secretary, and 
an inspector who passes upon the grade and pack, fol- 
lowing rules prescribed by the local association. A chief 
inspector, who is paid by the general organization, visits 
the local associations frequently to acquaint the inspec- 
tors with the grade and methods of packing found desir- 
able. The output of all the local associations is distrib- 
uted by the general manager of the Ozark Fruit Growers' 
Association, but the pack of each local association is sold 
separately, as a unit, on its merits. This is necessary 
in order to preserve the advantages which location, soil, 
cultural skill and care in packing give to a group of fruit- 
growers. The market representatives advise the secre- 
tary or manager of each local association by letter of the 
condition on arrival of each car shipped by that associa- 
tion. Expenses are met by a commission of two per cent 
on sales. 

1 The Office of Markets, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, now makes daily 
reports during the shipping season of the car-lot naovement to different 

Marketing 207 


A large and increasing proportion of the strawberry 
crop is marketed as by-products. In the past, these have 
been made wholly from berries that could not be sold 
while fresh at a profit. The market glut was the harvest 
time of the by-product factory. Now, many acres of 
strawberries are grown solely for by-products. Factories 
are located at most of the larger shipping points ; when 
the market price of fresh fruit falls below a certain figure 
the berries are sent to the factory. Many more factories 
are needed to prevent the enormous waste of strawberries, 
especially in the South. In Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, 
the Carolinas and Virginia, some seasons from fifteen to 
twenty-five per cent of the crop is not harvested, because 
the district has been crowded out of the market by points 
farther north. 


The principal by-products are canned berries, preserves, 
jams, sirups, jellies, crushed fruit and unfermented juice. 
There are more canned berries than any other by-product. 
The canning industry is especially prominent in Mary- 
land, Ontario and on the North Pacific coast. Occa- 
sionally canners contract with growers for all the crop, 
but more frequently they buy most of their stock in the 
wholesale market during a glut, frequently for two cents 
or less a quart by the carload. Such berries usually are 
overripe and are much better for making into sirup or 
unfermented juice than for canning. Berries for canning 
should be very firm, tart, of high color, deep red clear to 
the center, and hold their shape and color well after 

208 Strawberry-Growing 

The price paid at the cannery ranges from two to six 
cents a quart, crates and baskets returned. "As from 
9000 to 15,000 plants are grown per acre," says E. Hofer, 
of Oregon, " and a yield of one quart to the plant is easily 
maintained, it is possible to figure out from $150 to $300 
an acre for strawberries at the cannery." In order to 
maintain a fair price for fresh berries the members of the 
cooperative association at Tropico, California, are re- 
quired to put their berries into the cannery when the 
price falls below three cents a pint basket. The more 
hulls pulled off in picking the better, since they have to 
be removed anyhow ; hence picking does not cost over 
one cent a quart. It costs one to two cents a quart 
to hull them at the factory. 

Preserves, sirups and other by-products. 

A few years ago the chief product of jam factories was 
"compound jam," the art in making which was to use 
as little fruit as possible. Much of the " pure strawberry 
jam" made by thrifty manufacturers contained no straw- 
berries at all, but was made out of apple jelly, glucose, 
aniline dyes and clover seed. The " strawberry flavoring " 
of that period, used at soda fountains, contained little or 
no fruit ; it was a chemical preparation. Recent national 
and state pure food laws have greatly increased the use 
of real strawberries for these purposes. Aside from the 
canned article, the largest demand is for crushed or 
preserved fruit and sirup, to be used at soda foun- 
tains. Most manufacturers prefer to put up fruit for 
this purpose at the point of production, rather than at 
the factory. They, buy toward the close of the shipping 
season, when prices are low, beginning in Florida and 
working northward with the season. The method of 

Marketing 209 

handling berries for this purpose is described by H. C. 
Thompson : ^ 

"Wash the capped berries thoroughly in cold water, 
put them into tight barrels with sugar in about equal 
weight, load them into refrigerator cars and ship to a cold 
storage plant where they can be held until needed. Some- 
times the berries are crushed before being put into barrels, 
but in most cases they are packed as nearly whole as 
possible." A washing machine is used to remove the 
sand. The berries can be held for a year or more in 
good condition, if a temperature of twenty-eight to thirty- 
two degrees is maintained. Barrels of strawberries pre- 
served in this way are shipped from British Columbia to 
England, where they are made into jam and jelly. 

A good vinegar can be made from strawberry juice, 
but it costs more than apple vinegar. There is a field for 
the manufacture of unfermented strawberry juice, pre- 
pared like grape juice. A process for drying strawberries 
in the sun has been reported. By-products increase con- 
sumption and make the business more stable. 

1 Farmers' Bulletin 664 (1915), U. S. Dept. of Agr., p. 20. 



Before undertaking any agricultural enterprise, it is 
well to consider the probable outcome. To do this ac- 
curately, one should know the average cost of each opera- 
tion in it and the average price received for the product 
over a series of years. It makes little difference whether 
the cost of production is high or low if the selling price is 
commensurate ; the aim should be to grow the grade of 
berries that the market desires, at the lowest possible cost. 


The cost of production is determined chiefly by the cul- 
tural skill, diligence and business acumen of the grower. 
Other factors are the type of farming and the acreage. 
In most strawberry districts, the crop occupies the land 
but a short time and rotation with other crops is desirable ; 
this makes diversified farming necessary. The other 
crops provide employment for men and tools when the 
strawberries do not demand attention and, to this extent, 
reduce the cost of production. 

The strawberry is most commonly associated with crops 
that require intensive culture, mainly vegetables and 
other fruits. Between 1870 and 1890 many general 
farmers were attracted to strawberry-growing, owing to 
the low prices of staple farm crops. Since 1890, the straw- 
berry business has been mostly in the hands of horticul- 


Cost of Production, Yields, Profits 211 

turists, those who grow fruit and truck exclusively or 


Some growers have the capacity to handle a hundred 
acres ; others would fail with five acres. The strawberry 
responds profitably to intensive culture until the law of 
diminishing returns begins to operate. Intensive culture 
is more practicable under some conditions, extensive 
culture under others ; but if most growers would reduce 
their acreage and cultivate it more intensively the yield 
to the acre would be larger, and the cost of production 
reduced. The desire for a large acreage has possessed 
growers from the very beginning of commercial culture. 
In 1880, J. R. Young, Jr., of Norfolk, Virginia, had 250 
acres. Between 1885 and 1895, the rage for large fields 
reached its height. One man in the Ozark district had 
350 acres and fields of 150 to 200 acres were not uncommon. 
Now the individual acreage is nearer ten than fifty, and 
100-acre fields are uncommon. It is better for most 
growers to have but ten acres of a fifty-acre farm in straw- 
berries, and the remainder in other crops than to have 
fifty acres of strawberries and be obliged to buy all the 
hay and grain. 

The profits do not increase in proportion to the acreage, 
as some have supposed. Beyond a certain point, the cost 
of each cultural operation is greater, the difficulties of 
securing efficient labor are more pronounced, the problem 
of marketing is more involved and the yield to the acre is 
smaller. It is not wise to double the acreage after a year 
of good prices ; many other growers may do likewise. The 
small grower, who does a large part of the work himself 
and superintends all of it, will make the most profit to the 

212 Strawberry-Ofowing 

acre, but his total profit may not equal that of the grower 
with a larger acreage, who gets lower returns to the acre. 
Each man should find the mean between intensive and 
extensive culture that will be most profitable under his 

The cost of production is influenced by the probability 
of having a good crop each year. The strawberry is the 
surest in crop production of all fruits. Very rarely is 
there a complete failure from drought, frost or other 
untoward circumstance, although the yield may be 
reduced materially. Many districts have had no complete 
failure for over forty years. This makes the strawberry 
business a relatively safe investment, provided a satisfac- 
tory market is available. It is of special interest to the 
man with small capital, as it requires but little initial out- 
lay and an income is derived in six to fourteen months, ac- 
cording to the location. Other factors that enter into the 
cost of production, such as the value of land, cost of labor 
and distance from market, need not be considered here. 

The outlook for strawberry-growing is encouraging 
for the right sort of men. The market demand is increas- 
ing fully as rapidly as the acreage. Those who are worried 
about over-production should consider these facts : 

In 1790 there were 96 men employed in raising food stuffs on 
the farm to 4 in the city who must have food, but can 
not raise it. 

In 1860 there were 84 on the farm to 16 in the city. 

In 1880 there were 44 on the farm to 56 in the city. 

In 1900 there were 35 on the farm to 65 in the city. 

In 1910 there were 30 on the farm to 70 in the city. 

This does not point to over-production, but rather to 
an increase in the number of those who are dependent 
on the farmer and fruit-grower for food. 

Cost of Prodtiction, Yields, Profits 



Census statistics show that the average yield in the 
United States 9.nd Canada is about 1700 quarts an acre. 
The yield to the acre for the census year of 1909, in a num- 
ber of the more important producing states and provinces, 
is given below : 


Arkansas 1122 Missouri 

British Columbia . . 1700 New Jersey 

California 3423 New York 

Delaware 1771 North Carolina 

Florida 1774 Ontario 

IlUnois 1484 Oregon . . 

Louisiana 1794 Tennessee . 

Maryland ..... 1652 Virginia 

Massachusetts . . . 2730 Washington 

Michigan 1766 


The high yield to the acre in California is due partly 
to the fact that the plants bear almost continuously for 
six to eight months ; that of Massachusetts and New 
York to the larger acreage under market-garden culture. 
The average yield in Arkansas and Tennessee is no higher 
now than the average yield in 1845, soon after the begin- 
ning of the commercial culture of this fruit. 

Census statistics are misleading in that they deal in 
averages ; reports which show what individual cultivators 
have accomplished are of more interest to the prospective 
grower. Few growers realize the advantage of accurate 
cost-accounting in their business. Practically all of the 
statements that follow are estimates, not records; but 
they furnish a fairly reliable index to the present economic 
status of the industry in the diflFerent districts. All are 
on the basis of one acre. 

214 Strawberry-Growing 

Canada and northern United States. 

In 1910 Robert Thompson, of Ontario, made the fol- 
lowing estimate : 

Rent of one acre $10.00 

Taxes 3.00 

Management 50.00 

Plowing 2.00 

Harrowing 2.00 

Seven thousand plants at $3 per thousand 21.00 

Planting 5.00 

Fertilizers 17.00 

Hoeing and cultivating eight times . . 41.00 

Winter covering 25.00 

Delivery 12.00 

Profits above allowance for management 28.00 

Three hundred crates (7200 boxes) at 3 

cents on the plants $216.00 

In the Kootenay district, British Columbia, it is con- 
sidered that the cost of planting and caring for one acre 
until picking time is from S125 to $185. The total cost 
of producing a twenty-four pound crate is about $1.20, 
based on an av'erage yield of 250 crates to the acre. 

L. J. Farmer, of Oswego County, New York, gives an 
estimate for rather intensive culture in that section : 

Plowing and harrowing, ready to set . $10.00 

Plants 25.00 

Setting 5.00 

Hoeing six times 50.00 

Cultivating 25 times 25.00 

Mulching for winter 25.00 

Removing mulch and spring weeding . 15.00 

Total cost to picking time .... $155.00 

Picking 5000 quarts 100.00 

Total cost $255.00 

5000 quarts at 7 ff net 350.00 

Net profit $95.00 

Cost of Production, Yields, Profits 215 

In 1893 and 1894 the New Jersey Experiment Station 
made a statistical survey of the strawberry industry of 
that state ; 529 growers reported in 1893, and 934 in 1894. 
The range of yield was from 250 quarts to 10,752 quarts 
an acre; the average yield for the two years was 2700 
quarts. "The average value for 1893, after deducting 
cost of cultivation, manuring and mulching, was 
$176.82, or 6.4 ^ per quart, based on the average yield 
reported for that year (2765 quarts). The average re- 
turns for 1894 were $144.19 an acre, or 5.5 ^ per quart. 
These figures are fairly indicative, we believe, of the cash 
side of the strawberry crop." In 1904, E. H. Rudderow, 
Moorestown, New Jersey, showed that it cost him 4^ cents 
to produce a quart of strawberries.^ The average net 
price to the growers of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, 
Virginia and North Carolina now is about seven cents a 
quart. The business is conducted at a loss if the price falls 
below five cents a quart. 

In 1907 Charles B. Welch of Michigan made the fol- 
lowing estimate : 

Rent of land $ 7.00 

Taxes 1.80 

Plowing 2.00 

Harrowing 1.00 

Marking out .15 

Setting, four days 6.00 

Plants and digging 1.50 

Cultivating 7 times 3.00 

Hoeing, cutting runners and blossoms . 8.00 

500 pounds fertilizer 6.00 

Sowing one bushel oats and cultivating in 1.20 

200 16-quart crates, at 12)4 24.00 

Picking 40.00 

Packing and hauling 10.00 


' Rept. N. J. Hort. Soc, 1904, p. 51. 

216 Strawberry-Growing 

He adds, "This makes 200 crates of berries cost me 55.8 
cents per crate, or $1.11 per bushel. Freight and cartage 
cost 20 cents per crate. If the berries sell for $2.44 a 
bushel, the commission is 24^ cents and the total cost of 
putting a bushel of berries on the market is $1.56. This 
gives a profit of 88 cents a bushel, or $88 an acre." 

Southern states. 

The cost of bringing an acre into bearing on new ground 
is estimated by W. H. List, of Tennessee, as follows : 

Clearing ready for plow $10.00 

Plowing 2.50 

Harrowing and laying off 1.50 

200 pounds fertilizer 2.50 

Setting plants 1.25 

6000 plants at $1.40 8.40 

Five plowings 4.00 

Four hoeings 12.00 

Cutting off bloom .25 

Final fall cleaning up 2.00 


He says, " A yield of 100 crates, of 24 quarts each, is a 
fair average." Census statistics indicate that the average 
is about sixty crates to the acre. Tennessee and Kentucky 
growers estimate that it costs from $1.45 to $1.65 to pro- 
duce a twenty-four quart crate of berries. 

In the Ozark district of Missouri and Arkansas the cost 
of bringing an acre into bearing is about $50.00, as shown 
by the estimate of J. F. McNallie of Missouri : ^ 

Rent of one acre $ 5.00 

Plowing and preparing ground .... 2.50 

5000 plants 15.00 

Setting plants 5.00 

Cultivating 15 times 7.50 

Hoeing 3 or 4 times 10.00 

Mulch and spreading same 5.00 

1 Bui. 3, Mo. State Bd. of Hort. (1908), p. 11. 

Cost of Production, Yields, Profits 217 

There is no charge for f ertiUzer in this estimate, since most 
of the strawberry-planting in the Ozark district is on new 

The average return to the crate in the Ozark district 
now is $1.50 to $1.75. It is considered not profitable 
to ship if the price falls to $1.00 or below ; then the berries 
are sent to the cannery. A yield of 175 to 225 crates an 
acre is considered good, 150 crates fair, 75 to 100 crates 
poor. Yields of 300 to 400 crates are not uncommon. 

One of the best records of cost-accounting with straw- 
berries was reported by C. McNallie, of Missouri, in 

Report for First Crop 

Cost of Growing Plants 

Number of acres reported on .... 20 
Cost of plowing ground two times ; one 

in Sept., 1910, and again in Feb., 1911 $ 50.00 

Cost of harrowing and dragging . . 16.02 

40,000 plants ; then used 35,000 to reset 350.00 

Marking off land and planting . . 76.43 

Resetting (labor) 19.16 

Cost of hoeing four times .... 260.12 
Cost of cultivating (part of bed 19 times ; 

part 20 times, and part 21 times) . 136.50 
Running weeder over 2 times; 

rolling 6 times 22.50 

Cost of mulching material .... 54.87 

Cost of applying mulch 63.43 

Rent 80.00 

Picking blossoms 8.75 

Hauling rock 4.20 

Sharpening tools 4.00 

Cultivators, hoes, weeder, etc., assuming 

three years' use 27.00 

Total $1172.98 

1 Bui. 113, Mo. Exp. Sta. (1913), pp. 298-9. 



Cost of Marketing Berries — Spring of 1912 

Total number of acres reported on . 20 

Cost of picking per crate $.42 

Cost of crates each .15 

Cost of shed hands, row boss and haul- 
ing, per crate .11 

Sheds, trays, etc., per crate .... .04 

Commission or other association charges 

deducted from price received per crate .10 

Total marketing cost .... 


Returns from One-year-old Bed 

Total number of acres reported on 
Total value of berries sold, 1260 orates 

@ $1.26 per crate, net 

Total income per acre . . . $79.38 
Total picking and marketing ex- 
penses per acre 

Total growing expenses per acre . 

Net loss per acre $30.98 

Spring of 1912 



Repokt for Second Crop 
Cost of Care of Bed for Second Season 

Total number of acres reported . . 20 

Cost of removing mulch and weeds 

(mulch disked down) S -5.00 

Cost of team work at time of renewing 47.00 

Cost of hoeing at renewing — None 

Cost of cultivating 6 times after renewing 30.00 

Cost of hoeing after renewing, and num- 
ber of hoeings — None 

Cost of mowing three times .... 17.50 

Cost of mulching, if different from cost 
of previous years — None 

Use of tools, etc 10.00 

Rent 80.00 

Total $189.50 

Cost of Production, Yields, Profits 


Cost of Marketing Berries 

Number of acres reported .... 20 

Cost of picking per crate 

Cost of crates each 

Cost of shed hands, row boss ; hauling, 

per crate 

Cost of shed, trays, etc., per crate 
Commission or other association charges 

deducted from price received per crate 





Returns Second Year 

Number of acres reported .... 20 
Total value of berries sold, 1340 crates 

at $1.88 

Total income per acre 

Total picking and marketing cost per 


Total cultural cost per acre .... 

Net profit per acre $54.84 





Florida and the Gulf states. 

A few Florida strawberry-growers made large profits 
between 1880 and 1892. A net profit of $3000 an acre 
was reported from Bradford County in 1885.^ At that 
time the first shipments frequently brought fabulous 
prices, as has been described by Stephen Powers.^ "To 
take an acre of raw pine woods, clear, stump, break, ditch 
and plant it, will cost $125 to $140. The mulching and 
cultivation will bring expenses up to $175 to $200 per acre 
before a berry is picked. In addition, the best growers 
apply If or 2 tons of commercial fertilizer per acre, 

1 "Manual on Strawberry Fruit Culture," by O. W. Blacknall (1900), 
p. 90. 

2 Amer. Card., XI (1890), p. 328. 

220 Strawberry-Growing 

costing $60 or $70. A hundred bushels per acre up to 
the end of the picking season is a fairly good yield. The 
best growers get from $350 to $700 an acre, clear of all 
expenses. I once had a few quarts in a bushel contributed 
by different growers which was sold in Boston and netted 

After the "big freeze" of 1894 and 1895, strawberries 
were planted in southern Florida ; this competition soon 
reduced prices very materially. At present, a yield of 
100 bushels of Klondike to the acre is considered good, 
but exceptional yields up to 6000 quarts are reported. 
The average price is eighteen to twenty-five cents a quart ; 
the first shipments bring seventy-five cents to $1.25 a 
quart, for r few days. A grower at Plant City, Florida, 
makes the following estimate of expenses : ^ 

Interest on investment in land . . . $20.00 

Interest on investment in equipment . 10.00 
Depreciation in value of livestock and 

equipment - 20.00 

Cost of preparation of land 10.00 

Cost of fertilizer 40.00 

Plants 40.00 

Setting plants 5.00 

Cultivation 10.00 

Picking 3000 quarts at 2|>f 75.00 

Grading and packing at 1 ^ 30.00 

One hundred crates at 15fi 15.00 

3000 boxes 11.00 

Hauling to station 10.00 


The average yield in Louisiana and Mississippi is 150 
to 250 twenty-four quart crates an acre. Normal returns 
are $1.25 to $1.40 a crate. 

' Estimate furnished by H. C. Thompson, Bureau of Plant Industry, 
U. S. Dept. of Agr. 

Cost of Production, Yields, Profits 


The cost of production in the lower Rio Grande district, 
Texas, has been estimated by the Office of Farm Manage- 
ment, United States Department of Agriculture : ^ 

Breaking, harrowing, leveling . . 
Ridging and preparing beds . . . 
Working on borders and ditches . . 

Setting 10,000 plants 

12 irrigations 

15 cultivations 

Hand work with hoe 


Weed pulling 

Planting pop corn for summer shade 


Man Days 

Horse Days 
















Of the cash expenses the following is an average sum- 
mary of the data available : 

Picking, 2000 quarts (estimated yield per acre) at 3fi $60.00 

10,000 plants per acre at $3.50 35.00 

2000 boxes 12.00 

Cost of irrigation water 10.00 

Interest on land, 6% of $150 per acre 9.00 

Value of man labor 56§ days at 75 ^ 42.37 

Value of mule labor 25i days at $1.00 25.17 


When the bed is carried for two or three years the cost 
of production is reduced to about $100. 

Pacific states. 

According to B. O. Longyear, yields in the Canon City 
district, Colorado, range from 300 to 800 twenty-four quart 

1 Cir. 1, Tex. Exp. Sta. 

222 Strawberry-Growing 

crates an acre, the latter being from small tracts. Col- 
orado growers estimate that the cost of production is 
about $1.15 for a twenty-four quart crate. Net returns 
of $250 an acre frequently are reported. In the Yakima 
Valley, Washington, a yield of 250 twenty-four quart 
crates is considered satisfactory for the first three years 
of the plantation, but 400 crates are expected the fourth 
year ; after that the yield declines. Yields of 600 crates 
an acre are not uncommon. The net prices are from 
$1.50 to $1.70 a crate ; there is no profit when it is less than 
$1.00. On Vashon Island, in western Washington, 
P. J. McCormick has picked 2458 quarts of Magoon 
from 1000 hill plants, which is at the rate of 800 crates, 
or 19,200 quarts, an acre. The average yield, however, 
is 275 to 300 crates, at a net price of about $1.60 a crate. 
The great shipping variety of the Hood River Valley, 
Oregon, — the Clark, — is a shy bearer. The average 
yield is 150 twenty-four quart crates, but 300 crate-yields 
sometimes are reported. 

The yield to the acre in California is increased somewhat 
by the protracted bearing season, but not as much as 
might be supposed. In southern California, the average 
yield is 12,000 to 15,000 pint boxes an acre, but yields of 
30,000 boxes are secured occasionally. Gross returns of 
$1500 an acre have been reported, but the average is about 
$500. The cost of production is heavy; it costs about 
$150 to plant an acre, since it requires 30,000 to 100,000 
plants. The average cost of producing and marketing a 
pint box of berries is 3| cents and the average selling price 
around five cents. In the Los Angeles district, overhead 
charges are very heavy. The land is worth about $1000 
an acre ; most of it is rented to Japanese in four or five 
acre tracts for $20 an acre annually. Irrigation water is 

Cost of Production, Yields, Profits 223 

$40 an acre annually. The Japanese live in rough shacks 
built in the middle of the strawberry fields (Plate XIX). 
Much of the strawberry-growing in southern California is 
by contract between American land owners and Japanese. 
The land owner furnishes land, water, crates or trays 
(to be returned), tools and all permanent equipment. 
The Japanese furnish all labor after the berries are planted, 
pay for one-half of the baskets and haul to the depot. 
The land owner does the marketing and divides the net 
returns equally with the Japanese every week ; sometimes 
the Japanese receive two-thirds. 

Results under market garden culture. 

The estimates in the preceding paragraphs apply to 
field culture. Under intensive market-garden culture, 
the cost of production is much heavier and the possible 
net profits correspondingly higher. It was reported that 
T. C. Kevitt of New Jersey picked 27,000 quarts from an 
acre of Glen Mary in 1901.^ These were hill plants spaced 
one foot apart each way. The possible yield and profit 
from an ideal acre under the so-called "Kevitt system" 
are given by Mr. Kevitt as follows : ^ 

Cost the First Season 

21,780 plants $62.00 

Plowing and fitting 1.00 

Planting 10.00 

Manure in spring 25.00 

Manure in fall for mulching .... 25.00 

Cultivating and cutting runners . . . 60.00 

Extra labor 10.00 


» Rural New Yorker, 1902, p. 495. 
* Catalogue of T. C. Kevitt, 1908. 

224 Strawberry-Growing 

Cost the Second Season 

43,560 boxes $130.00 

Crates 100.00 

Picking, at 2 cents per quart .... 870.00 

Cartage and commission 440.00 

Total $1540.00 


Total cost $1733.00 

" The total income from one acre planted by my system, 
at 9 cents per quart, is $3645.54, leaving a net profit of 
$1900.54 each season for one acre," This statement 
would be more convincing if it were known that anybody 
has been able to secure more than half of this estimated 
yield to the acre, even under the most intensive culture. 
Burbidge reports, "A celebrated English strawberry 
grower said last year that his plants of British Queen had 
produced eight quarts of fruit per plant." No such yields 
have been secured in America. The net profit from an 
acre of strawberries under market-garden culture fre- 
quently runs over $1000. In 1901 Henry Jerolamen of 
New Jersey reported that a single acre had given a net 
return of $1700 and that the average return from his four 
acres was about $1000 an acre.^ 

It is probable that the bottom has not yet been 
reached in the price of strawberries on the wholesale 
market. Few consumers can afford to pay over eight 
or nine cents a quart retail, which will net the grower 
four or five cents a quart. In many cases it should be 
possible to grow good berries for one cent a quart, and 
pick them for one and one-fourth cents. The cost of 
packing and delivery to the depot averages about three- 

iRept. Wis. Hort. Soc, 1901, p. 163. 

Cost of Production, Yields, Profits 225 

fourths of a cent a quart. If the net return at the 
shipping point is four cents, this leaves the grower one 
cent a quart, which gives some profit. At the present 
time, the average net returns from the wholesale market 
are about seven cents a quart. 



Strawberries are propagated mainly by runners or 
layers ; and, to a slight extent, by division, cuttings and 
seeds. Probably wild strawberries once multiplied mostly 
by seeds, for the oldest and most widely dispersed species, 
Fragaria vesca, still multiplies mainly in that way. 


In F. virginiana, runners begin to form very early in 
the spring, before the mother plant blooms. In F. chilo- 
ensis, runners do not appear until after the plant has 
bloomed ; most modern varieties have this habit. The 
runners continue to form and to take root until heavy 
frosts, provided the ground is not dry. Unlike seedlings, 
runners are true to type ; they are merely divisions of the 
old plant. 

Nursery methods. 

The plants are grown commercially in propagating beds 
and all are dug; none is allowed to remain for fruiting. 
For home use, plants can be dug from fruiting beds, pref- 
erably those that have not yet borne. The propagating 
bed is planted and cared for in the same way as the fruit- 
ing bed, except that all the runners are allowed to set at will 
after the mother plants are well established. A sandy 


Propagation and Renewal 227 

loam, well filled with humus, is preferred to a heavy 
soil ; the roots forage widely in light soils. A persistent 
drouth in late summer or early fall results in a shortage 
of plants. Some nurserymen have installed overhead 
irrigation systems to obviate this difiiculty. Under 
normal conditions strong layer plants cost from $3 to 
$6 a thousand, according to the variety. In large cen- 
ters of production, where a single variety is grown 
almost exclusively, good plants may be had for $2 a 
thousand. These are the prices of standard varieties ; 
novelties may cost one dollar a dozen, or even one dollar 
a plant. 

Home-grown plants. 

The strawberry is propagated so easily that many 
commercial growers do not patronize nurserymen except 
to secure new varieties. According to W. F. Allen, "The 
nurserymen of the United States sell about ten per 
cent of the plants set in the country. Nurserymen 
sold last year (1912) one hundred million plants. Thus 
there were one billion plants set in 1913, which if set 
8000 to 10,000 to the acre would plant 100,000 to 125,000 
acres." ^ 

The chief advantage of home-grown plants is that there 
need be no long delay in transplanting them, which may 
occur with nursery plants. On the other hand, the 
nurseryman ought to be able to produce better plants than 
the fruit-grower, because it is his business. Home prop- 
agation rarely is cheaper than buying an equal grade of 
plants from a nursery. Modern methods of packing 
bring nursery plants to the grower nearly as fresh as when 

1 Proc. Amer. Pom. Soc, 1913, p. 168. 

228 Strawberry-Growing 

Where planting is done in August, September and 
October, as in Florida and the Gulf states, it is impossible 
to get northern plants early enough for setting. Northern 
plants are secured in February or March and set out two 
by four feet apart ; by September the runners can be 
used for setting the fruiting bed. In southern California, 
growers prefer to set plants that are not more than one 
generation removed from the East or North. If they con- 
tinue to propagate from their own plants, which bear 
almost continuously throughout the year, the stock soon 
loses vigor. 

Value of runners taken from the fruiting bed. 

The easiest way to secure plants is to dig them from the 
fruiting bed, preferably before it bears. Runners taken 
from a bed that has fruited once or more, and has not 
been carefully renewed each year, lack vigor. For spring 
planting, dig runners in the fall and heel them in over 
winter ; if dug in the spring, the roots of the plants that are 
left to bear are disturbed and the yield reduced. The 
later in the spring the plants are dug, the more it injures 
the fruiting bed. The main objection is that the grower 
is tempted to dig the smaller and weaker plants and leave 
the best ones to bear fruit. In the South there is some 
danger that self-sown seedlings may be secured in this way. 
If any considerable number of plants are needed, it is far 
better to grow them in a propagating bed, separated from 
the fruiting bed, and to keep the blossoms cut off so as to 
promote early development of runners. 

Ratio of runner increase in different varieties. 

The number of runners that can be secured from each 
plant depends on the variety, soil, climate and culture. 

Plate XIX. — Above, shacks in large strawberry fields, southern 
California, occupied by the Japanese laborers who rent the land ; below, 
coldframe used as a cutting bed in summer bedding. 

Propagation and Renewal 229 

F. E. Beatty, of Michigan, gives the following as the in- 
crease under average conditions : Michel, Beder Wood, 
Crescent, Warfield, Klondike and Dunlap, thirty-five 
runners from each plant. William Belt, Parson, Haver- 
land, Aroma, Brandywine, Gandy, Sample, twenty to 
twenty-five runners from each plant. Clyde, Glen Mary, 
Clark, Marshall, Parker Earle, Bubach, fifteen runners 
from each plant. These figures include only the strong, 
well-rooted runners. 

This increase under average conditions in commercial 
nurseries is small compared with the increase possible 
under special conditions. Plants of an expensive novelty 
may be set six feet apart each way on rich land, watered 
frequently with liquid manure, and all the runners hand- 
layered four to six inches apart. If the variety is a normal 
plant-maker each original plant will have made three 
hundred to five hundred strong runners by fall. Perhaps 
the greatest feat in strawberry propagation was by 
O. B. Galusha of Illinois. In the spring of 1878 he secured 
thirteen plants of Crescent, which had been introduced 
two years before, and set them in rich soil ten feet apart 
each way. He reported, "The plants entirely covered 
the ground before freezing weather. I raised 11,716 well 
rooted plants by actual count, the autumn being unusually 
favorable for their development." ^ He sold these plants 
for over $1000. 

Digging, packing and shipping. 

The best time to dig plants is when they are dormant. 
The winter mulch, old leaves and loose runners should be 
raked off first. Do not dig with a spade ; this cuts off the 

1 Kept. Mich. Pom. Soc, 1882, p. 355 ; and Rept. Ind. Hort. Soc, 
1890, p. 74. 

230 Strawberry-Growing 

roots. On heavy or stony soil a flat-tined spading fork can 
be used to advantage ; on light soils, a five-tined manure 
fork. Some nurserymen use a digger drawn by four 
horses. It has a blade that slices the soil beneath the 
plants and loosens it, so that the plants are easily raked 
together by the men who follow the digger. A potato 
hook is used occasionally, but is likely to tear the roots. 
The diggers should work toward the plants, throwing the 
forks-full behind them. The soil should be shaken off the 
roots at once and the plants tied into bunches in the field, 
or carried to a cool place to be counted and bunched. 
Put them in tight woven baskets or wet burlap sacks to 
protect them from wind and sun ; this is especially neces- 
sary in warm weather. The price paid by nurserymen for 
hand digging, counting and bunching is twenty-five cents 
for 1000 plants. Fifteen cents a thousand is paid for 
counting and bunching. Twenty-six plants are put in a 
bunch, one extra for good count. All runners and dead 
or diseased leaves are pulled off. 

A few plants that are to be shipped by mail are prepared 
by removing all leaves but the smaller ones in the center. 
The roots are straightened out and laid on a very thin 
layer of damp sphagnum moss, covered with more moss, 
and so on, plants and moss alternating. The bundle is 
rolled in oiled paper, a piece of cardboard bound around 
it to protect the crowns, and covered with strong manila 
paper ; but the leaves should be left exposed (Plate XX). 
When securely tied, this package will carry plants safely 
for five hundred miles. 

Plants that are shipped by freight or express are packed 
in boxes with slats on the sides and tops. Old thirty- 
two quart berry crates are commonly used. The crate 
is lined with oiled paper and damp moss and the plants 

Propagation and Renewal 231 

packed in very tightly, alternating with layers of moss. 
If the order is for 250 to 500 plants, the bunches may be 
set upright ; if for more, they are packed in double rows 
with the roots interlacing at the center and leaves exposed 
(Plate XX) . A second or third double row may be placed 
above this, with damp moss between. To avoid heating, 
not more than 2500 plants should be packed in one crate. 
The top is covered with moss and oiled paper. If the 
crate is not full, add straw or excelsior until the cover can 
be crowded down, so that there will be no slack. Plants 
packed in this way may be shipped several thousand miles 
without injury, in cool weather. Sphagnum moss is used 
as a packing material, almost exclusively. Sawdust can 
be used, but is more likely to heat. It is well to stamp 
the date of shipment on the package. For long distance 
shipments some prefer to pack very closely and ship in 
air-tight boxes. Plants have been shipped successfully 
to France in sealed tin cans. This method is not likely 
to succeed unless the plants are perfectly dormant and the 
weather cool. 

Quality in a strawberry plant. 

Most growers prefer plants of medium size, with strong 
roots and small crowns, to very large plants, because there 
is less crown surface exposed for transpiration of water. 
Old plants always are undesirable. A considerable por- 
tion of the very cheap stock offered by unscrupulous nurs- 
erymen consists of two-year-old plants that have borne 
fruit, or potted plants that were not sold the previous 
summer. Until quite recently, plants about one year old 
were preferred for spring planting in the North. For 
many years it was the prevailing opinion that the first, 
second and third runners are valuable for setting in the 

232 Strawberry-Growing 

order named ; that runners formed later than these, and 
especially alley plants, never should be used, even though 
of good size. The theory was that these plants had not 
developed strong fruit-buds, hence they would tend to run 
to vines rather than to fruit. Later evidence has shown 
that tip plants of fair size start off better in the spring, 
and have fewer fruit buds than older plants, which is an 
advantage. S. H. Warren of Massachusetts says, " I am 
not afraid to set small tip end plants, particularly of those 
varieties that are poor plant-makers. They will produce 
more runners than large, overgrown plants of the same 
variety which are prevented from making the most plants 
by the necessity for developing their fruit-buds." He 
refers to plants that are small because they were produced 
late in the season, not to older plants that are small be- 
cause they have been crowded in the row. There is no 
evidence that propagation from late-formed runners tends 
to barrenness. In ordinary nursery practice the entire 
propagating row is dug and all the plants that are large 
enough are sold, regardless of their age. It is likely that 
the vigor of the plant, particularly the strength of the 
root system, is more important than the time of year 
when it was produced. 

The so-called " pedigree strawberry plants," those that 
are said to have been propagated for a number of genera- 
tions from the best mother plants, have not proved to be 
superior to ordinary well grown nursery stock. If plants 
are selected rigidly for a long term of years, it is possible 
that the character of the variety may be modified to an 
appreciable extent, but as commonly applied, the term 
is misleading.^ 

1 This is considered at greater length in "The Strawberry in North 
America," Chapter V. 

Propagation and Renewal 233 


Practically all the plants used in commercial operations 
are field grown runners from maiden plants. In home 
gardens, and the more intensive types of market gardening, 
other methods are used to a slight extent, such as potted 
plants, cuttings or summer bedding, seeds and division. 

Potted plants. 

The runners from spring-set maiden plants may be 
layered into two-inch, two and one-half-inch or three- 
inch pots, in order to hasten the time when they may be 
detached for summer planting. This is practiced, for the 
most part, only in the North, Ordinarily layering is 
done in July and August. Several weeks before the plants 
are needed, the pots are filled with a specially prepared 
potting soil or rich soil from the field, and plunged to 
the rim beside the row of maiden plants, and not over 
eight inches distant from them. When one or two leaves 
have developed on a runner tip it is pressed lightly into 
the soil and held in place with a small stone or handful of 
soil. It may be necessary to go over the field several 
times, at intervals of four or five days. Discard "blind" 
runners, those in which the tip has been injured or has 
ceased to grow. In a normal season, it takes two or three 
weeks for the plant to fill the pot with roots; then it is 
detached, or the roots will turn brown and the plant will 
become pot-bound (Plate XXII). Pot-bound plants can 
be renewed by washing out the soil, cutting off the lifeless 
roots, and planting in fresh soil. The soil in the pot dries 
out quickly and the runners do not root readily in a dry 

The potted plants are placed in a cool shady place and 
watered frequently ; in a week or ten days they are ready 

234 Strawberry-Growing 

to be planted in the field. Nurserymen ship them without 
pots; the ball of roots is wrapped in paper and moss. 
The nursery price of potted plants is $2 to $4 a hundred, 
which is ten times the price of strong layer plants for spring 
planting; to this must be added heavy express charges. 
For home use, good results are secured by cutting rich 
thick sod into pieces four or five inches square and sinking 
these, grass side down, beside the mother plants. One 
runner is rooted in each sod. Old berry boxes are used, 

Potted plants are too expensive to be practicable com- 
mercially. They are rarely used except in the gardens of 
northern amateurs. Potted plants are highly advertised 
by nurserymen and seedsmen ; sometimes it is stated that 
"a. year is saved," since the plants will "bear a full crop 
the following spring." This is only a half truth. A 
potted plant may bear as many berries as the average 
runner from spring-set plants; but since potted plants 
make few if any strong runners, the yield to the acre is very 
much smaller, unless the plants are set six inches apart 
each way in spaced rows, which is expensive. Potted 
plants either should be set so close as to occupy the 
entire ground, or set at the usual distance and vege- 
tables grown between the rows both in the fall of the 
first year and the following spring. For those who need 
not consider expense, potted plants offer a means of 
securing maximum returns from a small space in the 
home garden. Under high culture they give fancy ber- 
ries, but few of them. 

Cuttings, or summer bedding. 

For summer and fall planting in the North, plants 
grown from cuttings are much cheaper and about as satis- 

Propagation and Renewal 235 

factory as potted plants. The unrooted tips are cut from 
maiden plants ; or runners may be used that have been 
thinned from the rows of spring-set plants. Make a cut- 
ting bed of mellow loam on a well-drained, sunny site, 
accessible to the hydrant. If a coldframe is placed over it, 
and the soil banked up on the outside, it will be easier to 
care for the plants (Plate XIX). Cut the runners in June 
or July, put them in wet burlap sacks and carry them im- 
mediately to shade. About one inch of the runner cord 
should be left attached to each plant. Part of the leaves 
should be trimmed off from the larger plants. Set the 
cuttings firmly in the soil, about three inches apart each 
way, with the node from which the roots will start just 
below the surface. The cutting bed is shaded with cotton 
cloth in sunny or windy weather and watered twice a day at 
first, once a day later. Remove the shade at night and 
on cloudy days ; after the plants have begun to root, grad- 
ually remove it altogether. In about two weeks the plants 
should be well rooted and may be transplanted to the field 
where they are to fruit, after being watered thoroughly 
so that the soil will adhere to the roots. Varieties that 
make few runners, or that root with diflSculty, may be 
propagated by cuttings to advantage. 


Seedage is used only with the Alpines, and in breeding 
new varieties. Variation, induced by cultivation, as well 
as crossing, causes the seedlings of the common varieties 
to differ widely from their parents; they do not "come 
true." The variation in seedlings of the Alpines is not 
marked. The berries are picked when dead ripe, crushed, 
and the seeds separated by rubbing the pulp in dry sand 
or loam until seeds and soil are mixed ; or the surface of 

236 Strawherry-Growing 

the berry may be pared off, and the parings placed in a 
stout cloth and kneaded under water to work out the pulp. 
Mix the seed with dry sand and sow it immediately in 
flats, coldframes or in the open ground. The soil should 
be light and rich; the seeds should be covered not over 
one-eighth of an inch deep. Water with a hand sprinkler. 
In two months the strongest seedlings may be pricked out 
and set in fruiting rows, about two feet by three feet. In 
the North, seedlings do not bear much until two years old ; 
in the South, and especially with everbearing varieties, 
considerable fruit is secured in less than a year. 


This consists of dividing an old plant into several pieces, 
or "fingers," each with roots attached, and setting these in 
the same way as layer plants. This may be done to best 
advantage in early spring. It is rarely practiced except 
to save the stock of a new or rare variety that is threatened 
with extinction. Some varieties that make few, if any, 
runners, as the Pan-American and the bush Alpines, are 
propagated by division. 


The strawberry is a perennial plant; theoretically, it 
can live and bear indefinitely. As the plant grows older, 
the crown, or stem, gradually elongates, and new roots 
are formed each year below the point where they were the 
year previous, thus pushing the crown higher. Some 
of the so-called "tree strawberries" are merely very 
old plants with long stems. This habit of growth auto- 
matically limits the life of the plant, if left to itself. In a 
few years it has pushed so far out of the soil that it sue- 

Propagation and Renewal 237 

cumbs to winter injury or drought. If the soil is drawn 
around the plant each year, so as to keep the advancing 
stem covered, it will live and bear indefinitely. Good 
crops have been secured from hill plants that were over 
twenty years old. 

Current practice in the North. 

In all of Canada except western British Columbia, 
and in the United States as far south as Kentucky and 
Missouri, the commercial strawberry is grown mainly in 
matted or spaced rows and the plants are fruited for one 
year, occasionally two, rarely longer. It is more com- 
monly grown as a biennial in those sections that have a 
mild climate, as New Jersey, the Delaware-Maryland 
peninsula and farther south, than in the North. A few 
northern market-gardeners who practice intensive culture 
and hill training fruit the plants five or six years, some- 
times longer; but many hill-trained plants in the North 
are fruited but one year. When potted plants or strong 
layers are set in August or September they are plowed 
under after the first crop. Thus they occupy the land less 
than a year and approximate the semi-annual culture of 
the South. 

In the South and West. 

In Florida and the coastal plain of Georgia, Alabama, 
Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, most of the beds are 
renewed each year, especially if they become foul with 
weeds. Formerly the attempt was made to carry the 
beds over the summer and fruit them two seasons. This 
was expensive and the results uncertain ; it has been gen- 
erally abandoned in favor of annual planting. The straw- 
berry is more nearly a semi-annual in this part of the 

238 Strawberry-Growing 

South than an annual; the plants occupy the land but 
six to eight months, commonly from September to March. 
After the crop is off, part of the bed may be barred off, 
hoed and cultivated, not to fruit another year, but to 
grow plants for setting a new bed. 

Between the large annual cropping belt of the North 
and the small annual or semi-annual cropping belt of 
the far South is a region in which strawberries are 
grown in narrow matted or spaced rows and fruited for 
two to seven years. It includes the states of Kentucky, 
Tennessee, the northern parts of Georgia, Alabama, 
Mississippi and Louisiana and the states of Arkansas and 
Missouri. Most of the plantations in this territory are 
fruited two or three years ; in the Ozarks, they may stand 
five to seven years. Similar conditions prevail in Col- 
orado, Montana, Idaho and other mountain states ; there 
the second crop usually is heavier than that of the first 
or any subsequent years. 

On the Pacific coast, where strawberries are grown 
mainly in hills or hedge-rows, seldom in matted rows, the 
plants are fruited three to five years. Twelve-year-old 
plants sometimes are reported as bearing well but are 
rarely as profitable as those under five years old. In the 
Hood River and Yakima valleys the third and fourth 
crops are best ; after that the plants begin to decline. 
This diversity of practice in different parts of the conti- 
nent results from the varied conditions noted in the follow- 
ing paragraphs. 


The number of crops that it is advantageous to take 
from one setting depends on the location and its climate. 

Propagation and Renewal 239 

the method of culture, method of training, the variety 
and the comparative cost of renewing and resetting. 

The location and its climate. 

Large quantities of strawberries now are grown in parts 
of the South which once were considered wholly unsuited 
for this crop because of the long hot summer. Attempts to 
carry beds through the summer by means of shading and 
mulching have yielded indifferent results. It is more 
practicable, in most cases, to grow them only in the cooler 
part of the year. Plants set from August to October, 
according to the locality, will bear a good crop the follow- 
ing spring, five to seven months after they were set ; then 
they are plowed under. Exactly opposite conditions are 
met in the higher altitudes of Montana and Colorado, 
which have a very short season. Plants set in April or 
May do not develop fully the first season and bear only one- 
fourth to one-third of a crop the following spring. Paying 
returns are not secured until the second season after plant- 
ing, and it is found desirable to fruit the plants at least 
three years. 

Method of culture. 

When land is high in value and intensive culture is 
practiced, as in market-gardening and trucking, it is more 
profitable to secure one heavy crop of strawberries and then 
use the land for some other crop than to carry the plants 
through the summer, when there would be no income from 
the land. Liberal use is made of horse manure, which is 
full of weed seeds ; this is another incentive to annual crop- 
ping. When strawberries are grown as a main crop on 
land of only moderate value, as in the Ozarks, it may be 
cheaper to fruit the bed several years. Annual renewal 

240 Strawberry-Growing 

is more practicable in commercial operations than in the 
home garden, where space is limited, especially if the 
plants are in hills or hedge-rows. 

Method of training. 

Hills or hedge-rows are fruited longer than matted or 
spaced rows, except where the climate forces annual or 
semi-annual cropping. The cost of establishing a planta- 
tion under hill training is large ; usually it is cheaper to 
keep the plants for several years, even though weeds and 
pests become troublesome, than to set out a new field. In 
matted row or spaced row training, on the other hand, the 
cost of setting a new field may be small compared with the 
cost of renewing an old field and fighting weeds. Prac- 
tically all of the very old plantations are hill plants. 
Experiments in England showed that the total weight of 
the fruit from hills increased with the age of the plant up 
to five years, but that the size decreased somewhat. The 
value of the crop for each of the five years was indicated 
by the ratios 34, 100, 117, 111 and 110 respectively.^ 
Nearly all the evidence favors a life of three to seven 
years for hill plants. There is no reason why matted row 
plants could not produce profitable crops as long as hill 
plants, if renewed each year. 


Some varieties reach maturity slowly ; they bear heavier 
crops the second or third years than the first. Gandy and 
Sharpless are conspicuous examples. Most of the va- 
rieties preferred for hill training are of this class. Others 
reach maximum production the first season ; this was one 
of the many valuable traits of the Wilson. Varieties 

> Rept. Woburn Exp. Farm, 1900, pp. 35-82, and 249-51. 

Propagation and Renewal 241 

commonly grown in matted or spaced rows bear somewhat 
heavier the first year than the second, unless the stand of 
plants is poorer or other conditions unfavorable. 

Comparative cost of renewing and resetting. 

If a good stand was secured and the first crop was 
heavy, the second is not likely to be as large. If the stand 
was poor the first year and there is prospect for a better 
stand the second year, a larger crop may be secured. If 
the bed is in good condition after the first crop, the second 
may be as good or better. One reason why some growers 
secure better crops the second year than the first is because 
the plants are less crowded ; the process of renewing the 
rows, with plow and harrow, leaves them spaced better 
than they were the first season. The prevalence of weeds 
and the increasing danger from insect pests and diseases 
also should be considered. 

The main point is, which is likely to be cheaper, — to 
set a new field at a cost of twenty-five to thirty dollars 
an acre, or to renew the old field. Probably the old field 
could be barred off and renewed for less than half that 
amount, but if the cost of fighting weeds is greater, or 
injury from insects and diseases larger, this saving may 
be more than offset. If the plants are fruited but one year, 
a crop of Irish potatoes, late cabbages, celery, millet and 
many other crops, including corn in the South, may be 
taken from the land the second season. When there is 
profit in extra early berries the old bed may be kept to 
advantage ; it ripens berries a few days earlier than a new 
bed, provided it has not been renewed or cultivated. 
"There are times when we get more money out of our 
second-crop bed than our first," says C. E. Persels, of 
Illinois, " because they come in a week earlier, while our 

242 Strawberry-Growing 

market is good, even if we get twice the berries off the new 
bed." This is one way of extending the season of a single 
variety. The less cultivation or mulching given to the old 
bed, the earlier the berries will ripen. Although the 
yield is smaller, the cost of production is low. 


The methods to be followed in renewing a strawberry 
plantation depend chiefly on the way in which the plants 
are trained ; also, to some extent, on the climate, nature 
of the soil, stand of plants and the season. They may 
be divided into two groups. The first includes methods 
of renewing the tops of the plants, as by mowing and 
burning; the second comprises ways of modifying the 
number of plants, as by plowing and harrowing. 

Mowing and burning. 

Mowing is practiced more than any other method. It 
is useful mainly in broadcast, matted row and spaced 
row training ; occasionally in hedge-row and hill training. 
On the North Pacific coast, mowing is discouraged. In 
California, renewal is accomplished by stripping off the 
leaves and runners by hand ; but the strippings are not 
burned upon the plants. In the Rocky Mountain region, 
the leaves are not mowed unless the leaf-roller has been 
serious. With these few exceptions, mowing is practiced 
whenever plants are fruited two or more seasons. 

Mowing is done as soon as possible after the crop is 
harvested, preferably within a week. The longer the 
bed stands thereafter the more weedy it gets. In matted 
or spaced row training the cutter bar may be run very close 
to the ground, since the crowns are protected by the soil ; 

Propagation and Renewal 243 

but in hedge-row or hill training the crowns are higher 
and allowance must be made for them. After the leaves 
and weeds have dried, they may be burned where they 
lie, or raked and carried off the field, or left on the field 
without burning. Burning destroys insects and dis- 
eases and clears the land of weeds ; but it may injure 
the crowns, and it destroys mulch and humus-making 
material. Hill or hedge-row plants are more likely to 
be injured by burning than matted row plants, since the 
crowns are more exposed. The older the plantation the 
greater the danger, for the same reason. Wait until the 
mowings are thoroughly dry and preferably when there is 
a brisk breeze, so that the fire will sweep quickly across 
the field. Start the fire at several places on the windward 
side so the whole field will be afire as nearly as possible 
at the same time ; a slow, creeping fire injures the plants. 
Back fires should be started near fences or orchards, first 
burning a few rows, then back-firing the whole field. 
Where a heavy winter mulch has been retained about the 
plants to protect the berries, it may be best to rake part 
of it into the alleys before burning, and to mix the mowings 
with it. Loosen the mulch with a fork or tedder; if it 
hugs the ground the heat and steam remain close to the 
plants and injure them. Unless mulch material is abun- 
dant and cheap, it is more economical to rake it off and 
stack it for use another year, than to burn it. When but 
little or no winter mulch is used it is desirable to scatter 
a little dry straw over the rows to facilitate burning. 
It is necessary to burn when the mowings and mulch 
are quite dry, but there is less danger of injuring the plants 
if the soil is wet. If a good stand was not secured the first 
season, do not risk burning; the mowings and mulch 
should be raked into the middles and burned there, or raked 

244 Strawberry-Growing 

off the field with a horse rake. When strawberries are 
grown between rows of young fruit-trees, do not risk 
burning. Should a heavy rain fall immediately after 
mowing, and prevent burning for several days, the plants 
may start to grow again ; if so, omit burning that year. 

Burning is more popular in the North, where much 
mulching material is used, than in the South. Except 
when insects or diseases are serious, equally satisfactory 
results can be obtained with the plow, harrow or hoe, 
and the humus-making material saved for the soil. 

Reducing the number of plants. 

Destroying the tops of plants does not remedy the chief 
defect of old beds. In matted or spaced rows it is de- 
sirable, also, to reduce the number of old plants, so as to 
make room for the development of runners. Local cli- 
mate, the plant-making ability of the variety, the stand 
secured the first year and the age of the plantation deter- 
mine the number of old plants that should be retained. 
The older the bed, the fewer runners it will make. In 
wet seasons, the plants of free-running varieties may be 
cut out to approximately the same distance apart as when 
the field was planted ; in very dry seasons it may be 
necessary to leave nearly all the old plants in order to be 
sure of a full stand. 

After they are mowed, the rows are barred off, or 
narrowed to strips four to eight inches wide, so as to leave 
middles of tilled land in which the new plants may root. 
A light turning plow, bull tongue, double shovel, cultivator 
or disk harrow may be used to advantage. A disk harrow 
set to the desired width, with two or three of the center 
disks removed from each gang, is an efficient tool for this 
purpose when weighted heavily. Two rows are cut at a 

Propagation and Renewal 245 

time, each gang straddling a row. The mulch is cut into 
the ground, so that it is unnecessary to burn or remove it. 
When a plow is used, the furrows are thrown either toward 
the middles or directly upon the rows of plants, covering 
them completely with fresh soil. On light soils this is a 
distinct benefit, but on heavy soils there is danger of 
smothering the crowns. It is preferable to bar off the cen- 
ter and one side of each row, so as to encourage the setting 
of runners in land that was in cultivated middles the year 
before. The next year this process is reversed. This de- 
stroys the oldest and least valuable plants, insures the 
production of runners from the younger and more vigorous 
plants on the outside of the old row, and makes it possible 
to keep the land in better condition. 

After the rows are barred off, subsequent thinning is 
done with the plow, harrow or hoe. Some growers plow 
across the rows, leaving the plants in squares which are 
about a foot in diameter and sixteen to twenty inches 
apart. Others harrow the rows lengthways or crossways 
two or three times to tear up the weaker plants, level the 
ridges left by the plow or disk, and draw fresh soil around 
the plants that remain. Hoes are then used to thin out 
the remaining plants so that they stand five to twenty-four 
inches apart. Only the strongest plants are left and the 
crowns of these are lightly covered with soil. The renewed 
bed now looks much like a new planting ; in two or three 
weeks it is impossible to distinguish between the two 
except for the less regular alignment. Some who use 
matted row training the first year use hedge-row training 
subsequent years. 

In the Ozark district a one-horse turning plow is used 
at right angle to the old rows, so as to leave the plants in 
small blocks about eight inches wide and three and a half 

246 Strawberry-Growing 

feet apart. The rows the second year run opposite from 
their direction the previous season. Changing the direc- 
tion of the rows keeps the ground more level and helps to 
control weeds. This heroic thinning is not advisable 
except on soils which produce an abundance of plants. 
In the Hudson River district a narrow strip of the old row 
is covered with furrows from each side. Five or six days 
later the field is harrowed both ways. No plants can be 
seen, but in three or four weeks most of them push through. 
This method is cheaper and more effective than plowing 
away from the rows and chopping out ; it kills the weeds 
better and a full stand is assured. It may not succeed 
on heavy land. 

If late summer is very dry, matted rows that have been 
barred off and chopped out do not make a good stand. 
This has forced the growers in some sections, particularly 
in the lower Mississippi Valley, to abandon the method. 
The middles are stirred with the double shovel or single 
shovel, so as to destroy all alley plants and make room 
for a few new plants ; and fresh soil is worked around the 
old plants. If the season is wet, the bed gets too thick. 

The cost of renewing matted rows is from two dollars to 
fifteen dollars an acre. A man with a one-horse plow 
can bar off about three acres a day ; if a disk harrow is 
used, six acres can be cut. Under average conditions, the 
cost is about five dollars an acre. 

Renewing hills and hedge-rows. 

In hill training the problem is not to reduce the number 
of plants but to readjust their position. Mowing or 
topping are advisable in most cases and sometimes burn- 
ing ; but the most important work is to set the plants 
deeper in the soil so as to favor the formation of new roots 

Propagation and Renewal 247 

above the old ones. This may be done most economically 
by drawing fresh soil around and over the crowns. Re- 
setting was practiced to a slight extent years ago, but 
it is impracticable now. The crowns are covered one-half 
to one and a half inches deep ; the lighter the soil, the 
deeper they may be covered without injury. If hill plants 
are set level with the surface the first year, they will be 
on a slight ridge after three or four years of renewal. 
When the rows are far enough apart to permit horse 
tillage this work can be done at little expense ; if the plants 
are set ten to twenty-four inches apart, soil must be secured 
from the intervening paths. Hedge-rows are renewed 
like hills, but some prefer to cut out the mother plants 
after the first crop is harvested and replace them with 
runners taken from maiden plants of the previous season. 

Carrying plants over the summer in the South. 

The low stature of the strawberry plant and the fact 
that normally it has a dormant season, or resting period, 
some time during the year make it possible for the culti- 
vator to carry it through a season of trying climate. It 
is best to grow the strawberry as an annual or semi-annual 
in Florida and the Gulf states, yet sometimes it is desirable 
to carry over certain plants. This is done with difficulty, 
on account of the long, hot summer, when the plants 
become practically dormant. Cultivation is discontinued, 
as it heats the soil at the surface. The weeds are scraped 
off at the surface with a hoe. A heavy mulch helps to 
keep the ground cool. If a thin row of corn is planted 
every four feet, its shade will be beneficial ; rice and cow- 
peas also are useful for this purpose. 

The Beeville, Texas, sub-experiment station reports: 
"On account of the fact that the second and third years 

248 Strawberry-Growing 

are the best for the production of strawberries, it is essen- 
tial that every possible care be taken to insure the life of the 
plant during the summer months. Only two methods have 
thus far proved anything like successful. The first is to 
mulch the plants heavily with cotton seed hulls in spring, 
immediately following the harvest. The plants are prac- 
tically covered. They are irrigated eight times during 
the summer. Under favorable conditions more than three- 
fourths of the plants are saved in this way. The objection 
to this method is the heavy expense. A mulch of straw 
is not as effective. In the southern Rio Grande region 
pop corn is planted in the bottom of furrows between rows 
of strawberries, which are irrigated during the summer. 
As the pop corn grows, the lower leaves are stripped off 
so that the air circulates more freely about the strawberry 
plants." Sugar-cane and cotton sometimes are planted 
between rows of strawberries for shade, but are not con- 
sidered as useful for this purpose as pop-corn. 



Modern North American everbearing varieties are 
descendants of the Pan-American, which was found in a 
row of Bismarck by Samuel Cooper of Delevan, New York, 
in 1898. There has been keen interest in the North in 
this new race of strawberries, but its economic status 
is not yet fully determined. All varieties are more or 
less everbearing in the far South. 


The introduction of the everbearers is so recent that 
comparatively little is known as to the best ways of 
handling them. It is probable that current methods of 
culture will be modified considerably when their nature 
and possibilities are better known. 

Removing the blossoms. 

The main difference between the culture of everbearing 
varieties and other sorts is in the management of the 
blossoms. The plants are set in early spring and the 
blossoms cut off until midsummer — until about the first 
of July, in the North — then they bear throughout 
August, September and October. If the blossoms of the 
single-bearing varieties are removed in the spring, no new 
ones appear in the North ; everbearing varieties produce 
blossoms continuously until winter. The first blossoms ap- 


250 Strawberry-Growing 

pear three or four weeks after the plants are set ; after that 
it is necessary to cut the blossoms every seven to ten 
days. If the blossoms are not removed during the spring 
months, the plants will ripen a few berries throughout the 
summer, but not enough to be worth while. They should 
be removed until midsummer, or until three weeks of 
the time when a crop is desired, and single-bearing varie- 
ties depended on for a spring crop. If set out in the 
fall, there will be a heavy spring crop and some fruit 
during the summer and fall. 

Everbearers require higher culture than spring-bearing 
sorts. Rich soil and an equable supply of moisture 
throughout the growing season are essential; if either 
are lacking, the everbearing habit is weak. They do 
not bear much in a dry summer or fall. If the soil is 
not rich, fertilizer should be applied three or four times 
during the season. Some varieties, as the Progressive, 
set runners freely and bear on the young runners as soon 
as they are rooted ; these should be trained in narrow 
matted rows. Varieties that make few, if any, runners, 
as the Superb, should be grown in hills, about one by 
three feet apart. 

Harvesting and marketing. 

The yield at one picking is small compared with a 
picking from single-bearing varieties. It costs three to 
five cents a quart to pick everbearers, or twice as much 
as to pick a spring-bearing variety. During July and 
August, everbearers need to be picked three or four 
times a week ; in September, twice a week ; in October, 
once a week may be sufficient, as the fruit ripens very 
slowly in cool weather. When the nights begin to get 
cold the berries are poor in color and flat in flavor, but 

Special Methods of Culture 251 

hold up fairly well in size. Pollination is likely to be 
poor in the fall, resulting in many buttons. The crop 
of the first season is rarely over 4000 quarts an acre, for 
all pickings between July and October. Everbearing 
varieties are not given a fruiting mulch, since it is neces- 
sary to continue tillage throughout the season in order 
to maintain moisture and provide favorable conditions 
for the rooting of runners. Hence, the berries will be 
sandy on some soils and must be washed in a colander, 
or in the device described on page 177. The berries 
should be dried before being packed for market. A 
limited quantity may be sold in most of the larger cities 
and towns for twenty-five to thirty-five cents a quart, 
which gives a fair profit. 

The everbearers should be mulched with unusual care 
during the winter; they are more tender than common 
sorts, having been exhausted by recent fruit-bearing. 
This weakness is more than offset by the freedom from 
frost injury of the blossoms ; they are much superior to 
spring-bearing sorts in this respect. Even if the blossoms 
are killed, another crop appears shortly after, as is the 
case with common varieties in the South. For this 
reason, everbearers are of special value where there is 
likely to be serious loss from late spring frosts. The 
second spring, — a year from the time the plants were 
set, — they bear a heavy crop at the same time as com- 
mon varieties, but ripen over a longer season. This 
is one of the most valuable features of the North American 
race of everbearing varieties. Yields of 10,000 quarts 
an acre in the spring are not uncommon. Usually it is 
best to plow the bed under after this crop is harvested ; 
if the spring crop is heavy, the plants do not bear well 
the remainder of the season. 

252 Strawberry-Growing 

Commercial value. 

The everbearing varieties have not yet passed the 
stage of exploitation. Ultra-optimistic trade catalogues 
and journals still describe them in superlatives. From 
some accounts, one would infer that the ordinary single- 
bearing sorts soon will be obsolete. It may be granted, 
without debate, that the everbearers are a distinct addi- 
tion to the home garden ; but whether they will be profit- 
able commercially is another question. W. B. Kille, of 
New Jersey, speaks appreciatively of their value for 
commercial culture : ^ " The yield of Superb, grown in 
matted rows from the spring crop, was at the rate of 
11,500 quarts per acre, while Gandy and Chesapeake 
beside them made less than 6000 quarts per acre. All 
three had the same treatment. The Superb can be 
handled by two classes of growers. First, by the special- 
ist who will devote all his energy to the production of 
fall berries exclusively. This can best be done by plant- 
ing on the hill system and removing all blossoms until 
July 10th or 15th. Second, by the commercial grower 
who will train them in matted rows or restricted matted 
rows and who will get enough berries in the fall of the 
first season to pay for establishing the bed, and then 
rely upon the spring crop for his greatest returns. If 
grown in matted rows, it will produce a small crop in 
the fall, which will sell at about three times what the 
spring crop brings, and also a very large spring crop." 

It is difficult to forecast the future of the everbearers 
at this time. We are only at the beginning of their 
improvement by breeding. The Pan-American was 
introduced only fourteen years ago, yet even during 
this short period breeders have produced varieties that 

1 Rept. N. J. Hort. Soc, 1913, p. 140. 

Special Methods of Culture 253 

are distinctly superior to it. At present, the everbearers 
are valued almost exclusively for the home garden, and 
occasionally for commercial culture in a limited way. 
The demand for strawberries during late summer and 
fall is so small, because of the abundance of other fruits 
at that time, that it seems unlikely that there will be 
sufficient incentive to grow them in large quantities; 
but every large town and city will take a few. It is 
expensive to keep the blossoms cut off, although some re- 
cent varieties are said not to require this. It is a heavy 
expense to pick small quantities of berries and market 
them over a long season, as southern California growers 
can testify. Moreover, the everbearers require higher 
culture than standard sorts and are more easily affected 
by drought. The present varieties are not as attractive 
in size, color and flavor as the spring-bearing sorts ; un- 
doubtedly these defects can be corrected by breeding. 
Until recently, the price of plants has been exorbitant. 
It is probable that the everbearers have but little com- 
mercial future, merely for supplying berries in the summer 
and fall. This has been the conclusion in Europe, where 
everbearing sorts have been grown much longer than 
here. The North American everbearers, however, have 
one saving factor that the European varieties do not 
possess in equal degree, — they bear a heavy crop in 
the spring of the second year. It is quite likely that 
when improved varieties of this type have appeared 
they will be grown commercially by a limited number 
of strawberry specialists, particularly those who have a 
near or personal market, but the everbearers will not 
find favor with those who grow strawberries for a distant 
wholesale market. 

254 Strawherry-Gromng 


Before the introduction of the Pan-American and its 
descendants, the Alpine strawberry was grown in North 
America in home gardens and in greenhouses. This is a 
form of the European wood strawberry, F. vesca. The 
berries of the Alpine are small, conical, soft, sweet and 
rather unattractive in color. The fruitstalks are ele- 
vated above the leaves. As a rule, seedlings are more 
vigorous and productive than runners, and the fruit is 
larger, but slightly inferior in quality. Young plants 
bear larger berries than old plants, sometimes one inch 
in diameter. Seed is sown in late winter or early spring, 
and the seedlings pricked out into flats. If seed is sown 
in February or March in the greenhouse or a window-box, 
the seedlings will bear a little fruit the following autumn, 
but not much until the next year. The plants are set 
twelve to. eighteen inches apart each way, preferably in 
a partially shaded place. One of the best uses for the 
Alpine, especially the bush kind, is as an edging to beds. 
Keep all the runners and flowers picked off until mid- 
summer, then let the plants bear the remainder of the 
season. The following year they will fruit more or less 
continuously throughout the growing season, if moisture 
conditions are equable and the soil rich ; like all ever- 
bearers, they fruit irregularly and sparsely in dry weather 
and require high culture. If removed in the fall to hot- 
beds or a greenhouse, the plants will bear all winter. 

The amount of fruit produced at one time is too small 
to make the Alpines valuable commercially. The yield 
is larger in the cool of autumn than during the heat of 
summer. After the second or third year the plants 
should be destroyed and new seedlings raised. The 

Special Methods of Culture 255 

Bush Alpines, which make no runners, are propagated 
by seedage, but can be multipHed easily by division. 
These varieties make a large stool, often with thirty to 
sixty crowns. As each crown is formed it begins to bear ; 
hence there is a succession of fruit. The crov/ns, or 
fingers, may be separated at the end of a season, each 
with roots attached, and used to set a new bed. The 
common varieties are Red and White Alpine and Red and 
White Bush Alpine. Some of the best improved varieties 
are the Berger, Sutton, Janus, Quatre Saisone, Large Red, 
Improved White and Belle de Meaux. There is little 
interest in the Alpines now except among amateurs. 


Occasionally there are seasons when some varieties of 
the spring-bearing class bear a fall crop. This phenome- 
non usually follows a midsummer drought, which checks 
growth so severely as to approximate the normal winter 
resting period ; then rains come and quicken the plants 
into the vigorous growth and fruitfiilness of a second 
spring. Fall crops were especially common from Maine 
to Missouri in 1903 ; in some places as much as half a 
crop was gathered in October. The Cumberland Triumph 
was noted for producing fall crops. 

In those parts of the Pacific Northwest and the moun- 
tain states where irrigation is practiced, "double-cropper" 
varieties are common. These are sorts that under certain 
conditions produce two crops a year, one in the spring, 
the other in the fall. Any variety that has many crowns 
and runners will succeed as a double-cropper in that 
region. Those most commonly used are : Jessie, Clyde, 
Excelsior, Magoon and Warfield. Double-cropping is the 

256 Strawherry-Growing 

result of cultural manipulation, not of an inherent ever- 
bearing tendency. It is accomplished by the simple 
expedient of withholding irrigation and drying out the 
plants in early summer, some two or three weeks after 
the first crop has been gathered, so that they have a 
resting period. After the leaves become brown they 
are mowed, raked off, burned, and the field is irrigated. 
The second crop ripens in September or October. These 
fall berries frequently bring better prices than spring 
berries, but the crop is not as large and the market for 
them is limited. Some growers cease irrigating before 
the plants have matured all of the spring crop, in order 
to secure a larger crop in the fall. A long season is 
necessary for double-cropping. A fall crop does not 
decrease the yield the next spring to an appreciable 
extent. Usually, it does not pay to take off a fall crop 
unless the spring crop was poor. Plants that are three 
years old, or over, are most useful for this purpose. It 
should be clearly understood that the true everbearing 
type is entirely distinct from the frequent occurrence of 
fall crops in standard varieties, induced by abnormal 
weather conditions or special cultural practice. The 
everbearers have a fixed tendency to bear continuously, 
independent of weather conditions. 


The forcing of strawberries is not an important industry 
in North America, as it is in Europe. Since 1890, when 
field-grown berries from Florida began to appear in 
northern cities in considerable quantity as early as De- 
cember, there has been a distinct lessening of interest in 
the greenhouse product. Forcing is now confined to the 

Plate XXI. Forcing. — -Above, cheap greenhouse made of hot-bed 
sash, used for forcing strawberries at Hackensack, New Jersey ; below, 
potted plants plunged in cinders in a coldframe. 

Special Methods of Culture 257 

private greenhouses of the wealthy and to a few com- 
mercial greenhouses near the larger cities. The price 
that it is necessary to charge for forced strawberries puts 
them beyond the reach of any but the aflBuent. There 
always will be a few who will pay $2.00 a pint for forced 
berries, even when Florida or California berries can be 
bought for fifty cents a quart ; or who will pay $2.50 each 
for strawberry plants in six-inch pots, each plant bearing 
five to ten ripe berries, in order to set one plant before 
each guest at a dinner party. This market, however, is 
extremely limited and is confined to the largest cities. 

Strawberries are forced in greenhouses, and are either 
planted directly in benches or grown in pots. Bench 
forcing is preferred by those who wish to produce a fair 
grade of berries cheaply ; pot forcing, by those who wish 
to secure the highest grade of berries, regardless of ex- 
pense. Pot forcing requires more care, but it is more 
convenient, and gives the gardener more perfect control 
over his plants. 

The type of house commonly used for forcing berries 
in benches is a low, even span, made of hotbed sash 
(Plate XXI) . It is seven to eight feet high, eight feet wide, 
with two side benches four or five feet high. After the 
Easter crop is harvested the house may be stripped of 
sash, which are used for coldframes and hotbeds. Plants 
for a crop to ripen for the Christmas trade are layered into 
three-inch pots that are plunged in the field beside virgin 
plants, and are transplanted to the greenhouse bench as 
soon as they have filled the pots with roots. They are 
set five to nine inches apart in rich compost, made of 
three parts light sandy loam to one of rotted manure. 
The roof of the greenhouse is stripped of sash until frost, 
and the plants are watered, syringed and sprayed like 

258 Strawberry-Growing 

potted plants. When frost has checked their growth 
somewhat, early in November, the sash are put on and 
firing begins. The heat is increased gradually ; at ripen- 
ing time it should be ninety degrees on sunny days and 
sixty degrees at night. Great care in watering is neces- 
sary; in dark, wet weather the entire crop may mildew 
if the plants are over-watered. The trusses of berries 
are propped off the ground with forked sticks. Plants 
for the second crop are not layered into pots, but strong 
runners are transplanted from the field to coldframes 
in late autumn, with a big ball of soil attached. When 
the first crop begins to decline, these new plants are set 
between the old ones, which are pulled up when the fruit 
is off. The second crop ripens about Easter. 


The main essential to success is strong plants with large 
crowns ; small plants with weak crowns give poor results. 
These are runners from maiden plants, which are set in the 
spring and treated as in ordinary field culture. Two- 
inch or three-inch pots, filled with rich soil, are plunged 
to the rim on each side of the row in June. The first 
and strongest runners are layered into them. It is 
necessary to watch the pots closely as heavy rains wash 
them out or cultivator teeth disturb them. By the last 
of July or first of August the runners will be well estab- 
lished in the pots and should be cut off. Wait until the 
roots completely fill the pots, but do not let the plants 
become pot-bound — checked in growth by lack of soil. 

The rooted runners are taken to the potting shed and 
shifted into six-inch pots, in which they are to fruit. The 
soil is preferably turf that has been secured from an old 

Special Methods of Culture 259 

pasture and piled up to decay for two or three years. To 
this is added leaf-mould and rotted manure, making a 
light, rich, fibrous loam. Mix three parts of this with 
one part of sharp sand and add dissolved bone at the 
rate of one quart to three or four bushels of soil. Screen 
the soil through a sieve of about one-quarter inch mesh. 
Wet the plants before they are potted. Place an inch 
of potsherds or gravel in the bottom of each pot; good 
drainage is very essential, as the plants are watered freely 
during the forcing period. Set the plants so that the 
crown will be even with the surface. Pound the soil 
around the ball of roots with a potting stick ; it can hardly 
be too firm. 

Care in the coldframe. 

After being potted, the plants are set in the coldframe, 
which is located on a sunny and well-drained site, con- 
venient to a hydrant. Cover the ground a foot deep 
with coal ashes or cinders, sink the frame into these 
several inches and bank upon the outside (Plate XXI). 
Plunge the pots to their rims and as close together as 
possible. The ashes provide drainage, keep the pots 
from drying out rapidly and prevent earthworms from 
getting into them. Water freely until the pots are well 
filled with roots, then sparingly, so as to ripen the crowns. 
All runners should be pinched off. Spray with bordeaux 
occasionally to keep the foliage free from blight and mil- 
dew. By autumn the plants will have very large crowns 
and the pots will be densely filled with roots (Plate XXII) . 

As winter approaches, cover the frame with sash every 
night to protect the plants from the first frosts and strip 
it during the day, thus prolonging the growing season 
several weeks. Water less and less frequently ; during 

260 Strawberry-Growing 

the last growing month, keep the pots so dry that the 
plants almost wilt. By the middle of November, in the 
North, the pots should be allowed to freeze and the plants 
become dormant. After the plants are frozen, mulch 
them lightly with straw and cover the frame with sash. 

Bringing the plants into heat. 

Most kinds of plants must have a check in growth, 
such as results from frost or drying out, before they can 
be forced. This is desirable with the strawberry, but 
not absolutely necessary. If the crop is needed for 
Christmas trade, part of the plants may come to fruitage 
without a check ; but plants which have had a long period 
of rest and have been frozen force better and the berries 
are of higher quality. Some gardeners do not attempt 
to ripen a crop before the last of February. M. Bultel 
has shown that strawberry plants which are subjected 
to fumes of ether before they are forced come into bloom 
two weeks earlier than untreated plants, and bear heavier.^ 
Etherization makes the plant completely dormant. These 
plants were treated for forty-eight hours with 400 grams 
of ether to each cubic meter. This method may be useful 
for plants that are forced without being thoroughly 
ripened by cold weather. 

The dormant plant should be brought into heat eight 
to ten weeks before it is desired to have ripe berries. 
The length of the forcing period is determined by the 
temperature at which the plants are held, and weather 
conditions. When a continuous supply of ripe fruit is 
desired, fresh plants should be brought in every ten days ; 
from fifty to eighty at a time, to secure two quarts at a 

1 Jour, de la Soc. Nat. d'HorticuJture de France, April, 1912, pp. 

Strong potted runner 
from a 3-inch pot that 
jvas plunged in the 

Forcing crown from 
a 6-inch pot, repre- 
senting a good strong 

Unrooted runner 
of Pan-American va- 
riety, bearing sev- 
eral half-ripe berries. 

A good forced plant of Glen Mary, showing the low compact habit and 
the piece of wire screen on which the berries rest for support. 

Plate XXII. Various Manipulations of Strawberry Plants. 

Special Metliods of Culture 261 

picking. Dead and diseased leaves are stripped off, the 
plants sprayed with bordeaux and watered freely. The 
pots are set on benches, preferably six to twelve inches 
from the glass, so that the plants will not be drawn, and 
are plunged into some material that will hold moisture, 
such as coal ashes. Narrow shelves may be suspended 
from the roof by iron braces. As far as possible, the 
gradually rising temperature of springtime out of doors 
should be simulated in the forcing house. During the 
first week, a night temperature of thirty-five to forty 
degrees is maintained, with ten degrees higher in the 
sun. Each week it is raised four or five degrees until 
the plants are in bloom, when it should be sixty to sixty-five 
degrees. It is necessary that the plants should grow 
slowly during the first half of the forcing period ; after 
they have blossomed they may be forced more rapidly. 
When the fruit begins to swell a temperature of seventy 
degrees should be maintained. Low temperature after 
the plants come into blossom prolongs the forcing period, 
increases the difficulty with pollination and gives stunted 
plants and small berries. Excessive heat produces weak, 
drawn plants, increases the danger from the red-spider 
and gives soft, poorly flavored berries. Syringe the 
foliage for red-spider every sunny day; sometimes this 
will be necessary even on cloudy days. During pollina- 
tion, syringing must be stopped, but the walks should be 
kept wet. 


There are no insects or breezes in the greenhouse to 
distribute the pollen, so the gardener must do it, other- 
wise the berries will be few and imperfect. During 
blossoming, water the plants sparingly and ventilate 

262 Strawberry-Orowing 

freely. The anthers shed pollen every sunny day; a 
little may fall upon the pistils, but not enough to pollinate 
them properly. In bright weather, especially as spring 
approaches, some varieties pollinate well if the gardener 
merely brushes his arm over the plants; but usually it 
is necessary to hand-pollinate each blossom. This is 
done in the middle of the day, when the house is dry. 
A small camel's-hair brush is used to distribute the pollen 
over the pistils ; the surplus pollen is collected in a spoon 
for use on pistillate varieties, or staminate sorts that 
produce little pollen. Staminate varieties differ wddely 
in their ability to produce pollen. Marshall is one of 
the best in this respect and Glen Mary one of the poorest, 
especially the early blossoms. It is impossible to grow 
a satisfactory plant without a fair amount of sunshine 
during the blossoming period. In prolonged cloudy 
weather, varieties that are strongly staminate normally 
may produce no pollen at all. 

When the berries begin to swell, stimulate the plants 
with liquid manure. This should be given twice a week, 
and gradually increased in strength until the berries begin 
to color; then the applications should cease, as they 
make the berries soft and watery. Rotted cow manure 
or sheep manure is preferred. Nitrate of soda, at the 
rate of one tablespoonful to three gallons of water, is almost 
equally effective. Sulfate of potash and acid phosphate, 
in small quantities, are used after the fruit has set and 
until it begins to turn color. All the blossoms are pol- 
linated, but not all the berries are allowed to mature. 
Small and imperfect specimens are cut off, leaving five to 
ten berries on each plant, according to its vigor. If they 
lie upon the soil they may decay ; the stems may be 
propped up with crotched sticks, or square pieces of wire 

Special Methods of Culture 263 

fly screening may be laid under the trusses (Plate XXII) . 
Forced berries are marketed in pint or quart boxes, which 
are lined with cotton wool, and each berry is wrapped in 
a strawberry leaf. Both berries and leaves should be 
dry. The plants are forced but once and then are thrown 

Forcing varieties. 

A good forcing variety should be vigorous, have clean 
foliage, produce an abundance of pollen, have long, stiff 
fruit-stalks and bear large glossy, dark crimson berries 
of high quality. The English forcing varieties are not 
successful here. Among the best varieties for forcing 
are Marshall, Glen Mary, Nich Ohmer, Brandy wine and 
President, especially the first two. The early blossoms 
'of Glen Mary frequently are without stamens and must 
be pollinated with another variety. The President is 
pistillate, but is an excellent forcing variety in other 
respects. It is best to grow^ three or four varieties so as 
to be sure of an abundant supply of pollen. 

These are the methods that professional greenhouse 
gardeners consider essential to success. For home use, 
fairly good forced strawberries may be secured simply 
by lifting strong plants, with a large ball of soil, from the 
open field in January, and bringing them into heat gradu- 


Strawberry exhibitions are not as common now as they 
were fifty years ago, but the growing of fancy and exhibition 
berries still is a source of pride to amateur and professional 
alike. Some growlers have been very successful in this 

264 Strawberry-Growing 

special phase of strawberry-culture. Chief of these was 
John Knox, of Pittsburgh, who sold many hundreds of 
bushels of Jucunda, between 1863 and 1871, at $16 a 
bushel. They were packed in pint boxes, which held ten 
berries each, and retailed at $1 a box. The most 
noted grower of fancy berries in recent years was E. C. 
Davis, of Northampton, Massachusetts. He raised many 
specimens of the Margaret that were three inches in 
diameter and one that was 3| inches long and 84 inches 
in diameter. John F, Beavers, of Dayton, Ohio, was 
very successful ; many of his specimens measured nine 
to twelve inches in circumference. Joseph Haywood, of 
Ambler, Pennsylvania, raised fancy berries for market 
that measured five to the quart. Henry Jerolamen, of 
Hilton, New Jersey, has marketed many that ran ten 
berries to the quart. When it is remembered that in the 
general market "large" strawberries run seventy-five to 
100 to the quart, and "small" berries 100 to 175 to the 
quart, these results are no small achievement. 


Until the spring of the fruiting year the methods of 
raising fancy and exhibition berries do not differ materially 
from those practiced in market-garden culture. Usually 
potted plants are set in July or August on heavily manured 
land and kept in hills ; some prefer strong layers set in 
August. The ground is covered four or five inches deep 
with rotted manure in the fall. Special care is necessary 
in applying and removing the winter mulch. In spring, 
only the coarse part of the manure is raked off, and liquid 
manure is applied frequently after the berries begin to 
swell. E. C. Davis gave his plants liquid manure every 
day, sometimes three times a day. One-half bushel of 

Special Methods of Culture 265 

hen manure is placed in a burlap sack and dropped into 
a barrel of water until the water is the color of weak tea ; 
this is poured on the ground between the plants, not upon 
them. An ounce of saltpeter in ten quarts of water gives 
almost as good results. A gallon of liquid manure to the 
square yard may be used each day without injury. 

An effort should be made to prolong the period of ripen- 
ing, so as to pump more water into the berries. This is 
accomplished by shading the plants with muslin or lath 
screens. Shade must be used with discretion, or color, 
firmness and flavor will be sacrificed to size. Select two 
or three of the best berries on each truss and cut off all 
others; this disbudding should be done as soon as a 
number of perfect-shaped berries have formed. Exhibi- 
tion strawberries are shipped in cotton wadding — not 
in cotton batting, which sticks to them. Put one berry 
in each compartment of an egg crate. Never touch the 
berries, always handle them by the stems. 

Strawberries may be preserved for exhibition purposes 
in wide-mouthed jars with tight-fitting glass stoppers. 
The berries should be of good color, but not fully ripe, 
stems on and very firm. If they are dipped quickly into 
melted paraffin, this helps to keep their shape. According 
to W. R. Ballard, a ten per cent solution of formalin and 
acid potassium sulfate is a fairly satisfactory preservative, 
but the berries lose their color in two or three years. ^ 


The barrel is an interesting novelty for the amateur. 
In 1898 J. P. Ohmer, of Dayton, Ohio, who was especially 
successful in barrel strawberry-culture, gave these direc- 

1 Proc. Soc. Hort. Sci., 1910, pp. 60-2. 

266 Strawberry-Growing 

tions : " Take any iron-bound barrel, except one that has 
been used for pickles, sauerkraut or vinegar. Remove all 
hoops but four, and bore four holes in the bottom. Then 
space five rows of holes, twelve to a row, around the 
barrel, placing the fifth row five inches from the top, and 
the bottom row eight inches from the bottom. The 
holes should be li inches X 3 inches and are made by 
boring two holes, one above another, with a li inch bit. 
Put about two inches of fine gravel or coarse sand in the 
bottom of the barrel ; then fill it with soil to the bottom 
of the first row of holes. Use clay soil well mixed with 
rotted manure, and be careful that it is not too wet. 

"When planting, put the plants as near the top of the 
holes as possible, to allow for the settling of the soil. 
Get in the barrel and tramp the soil solid ; then loosen 
it with a trowel where the plants are to go. Spread the 
roots out well. Then put soil about half way up to the 
next row of holes. Now take a common drain tile 12 
inches long and 3 or 4 inches in diameter; stand it on 
end in the center of the barrel and fill it with coarse sand. 
Then fill up the barrel with soil a little above the next 
row of holes and tramp again. Be careful not to move 
the tile and get dirt in it. After planting the second 
row, lift the tile, see that the sand settles, and fill it with 
sand again. Then put in soil above the next row of 
holes, tramp and plant that row. Repeat, until the 
five rows are planted. Don't fail to tramp. 

"After planting the tile remains in the barrel; leave 
it empty, so as to take the water. Pour water in the 
tile for the lower rows, and on top of the barrel for the 
two top rows. It would be impossible to water the lower 
plants without the tile and the core of sand. Fill the 
tile about once a day and put about two quarts on the 

Special Methods of Culture 267 

outside. You can easily water too much. Set the 
barrel on bricks to keep it off the ground. As the weather 
begins to get cold, stop watering. Use a perfect bloom- 
ing variety." When winter protection is needed, build 
a square wooden frame around the barrel so that there 
will be six inches of straw all around each side. Mr. 
Ohmer averaged one-half bushel of berries to the barrel ; 
forty quarts to the barrel have been reported. A device 
for revolving the barrel so that it can be turned to sun- 
light easily may be made by setting the hub of an old 
buggy wheel into a log, and the other hub into the end 
of the barrel. Strawberries in barrels ripen ten to four- 
teen days earlier than those in the field. 

Barrel strawberry-culture fails more frequently than it 
succeeds. The chief difhculties are that the soil settles 
and pulls out the plants ; also that it dries out in winter. 
It is very difficult to keep the soil in all parts of the barrel 
moist. This method is more successful in England than 
in North America. The strawberry barrel is merely a 
novelty for the amateur ; it has no commercial value. 



The strawberry is less liable to serious injury from 
insects and diseases than most other fruits. Fifty years 
ago, when the same plantation was fruited ten to fifteen 
years, damage from pests was much more pronounced 
than now, when most plantings are fruited but one year 
and practically none more than four years. Most of the 
difficulties enumerated below may be prevented or greatly 
lessened by careful selection of propagating stock, short 
rotations, clean tillage, keeping the borders of the field 
free from weeds, and other cultural methods, without 
resorting to the use of sprays. Spraying, as a routine 
feature of strawberry-culture, is practiced by compara- 
tively few growers, chiefly in the North; but periodic 
outbreaks of certain pests may make it desirable to spray 
some seasons in almost every district. Probably over 
ninety-five per cent of the commercial strawberry crop is 
grown without any spraying whatever. Nurserymen 
spray more than growers, so as to secure perfectly clean 


The common types of orchard sprayers can be adapted 
for strawberries. The simplest equipment for a small field 
is a hand pump mounted on a fifty gallon barrel or larger 


Insects, Diseases and Frost 269 

tank and placed on a two-wheeled cart. At the rear of 
the rig a hollow rod is attached, to which are fastened 
three to five nozzles at the correct intervals to cover as 
many rows. The rod is connected with the barrel by a 
spray hose. It is preferable to use two horses, so as to 
straddle the rows. For larger operations, an outfit of the 
same type, but deriving power from sprocket wheels, is 
more effective, as the spraying is done without stopping 
the team (Plate XXIII). Compressed air knapsack 
sprayers are serviceable for home gardens. 

Preparation of spray materials. 

Bordeaux mixture is preferred for controlling fungous 
diseases of the strawberry, although concentrated lime- 
sulfur solution, diluted at the rate of one and one-half 
gallons of a solution testing thirty-three degrees Beaume 
to fifty gallons of water, has given good results in some 
places. Bordeaux is made by slaking four pounds of 
quicklime slowly, preferably with hot water, and diluting 
it to make twenty-five gallons. Dissolve three pounds 
of bluestone (copper sulfate) in twenty-five gallons of 
water. This may be done quickly with hot water, or the 
bluestone may be placed in a burlap sack the night before 
the spray is to be applied and hung in a tub of water, so 
that the bottom of the sack is just below the surface of 
the water. Always use a wooden receptacle for dissolving 
bluestone. When ready to spray — not before — pour 
the lime and the bluestone solutions together into a fifty 
gallon barrel at the same time ; do not pour one into the 
other. Strain the mixture through fine wire gauze before 
spraying, and keep it agitated. 

Arsenate of lead paste is preferred to paris green for 
spraying strawberries, as it sticks better to the foliage. 

270 . Strawherry-Growing 

The usual rate of application is three or four pounds to 
fifty gallons of spray; in most cases it is put into the 
bordeaux. Paste lead should be mixed with a little 
water to make it liquid before it is added to the bordeaux. 
Powdered arsenate of lead is equally effective if used at the 
rate of one and a half to two pounds for each fifty gallons 
of spray. 

It is not safe to spray a fruiting field after the blossoms 
open ; the spray will injure the blossoms and mark the 
berries. Leaf-eating insects that appear between blossom- 
ing and harvesting may be controlled with fresh powdered 
hellebore at the rate of one ounce to two gallons. 

Nurserymen located in districts that are infested with 
root-louse should fumigate their plants with hydro-cyanic 
acid gas before they are shipped. 


Leaf-spot, rust or leaf-blight {SphoBrella jragarice). 

This is the most common and most conspicuous disease attacking 
the strawberry. It occurs on nearly all cultivated varieties to some 
extent, and on the wild strawberry, F. virginiana. The leaves are 
covered with small spots or blotches, wliich are reddish or purplish 
at first ; later the center becomes ashy white, bordered with red 
or purple (Fig. 17). The spots are distributed irregularly; when 
numerous they run together, forming irregular blotches. The 
healthy leaf surface is so reduced that the fruit does not develop 
properly and few runners form. Sometimes the disease attacks the 
fruit-stems and cuts off the food supply of the berries so that they 
shrivel when half grown. In very severe attacks, the whole bed is 
practically ruined; by midsummer it looks as though scorched by 
fire. Plants in heavy, wet soil are more likely to be affected than 
plants on light, dry soil. 

Bordeaux lessens the severity of the attack, but does not hold the 
disease in check altogether. Spray the fruiting bed twice before 
the blossoms open and again immediately after; a field of virgin 

Insects, Diseases and Frost 


plants may be sprayed at any time. The chief reliance for freedom 
from leaf-bHght is the selection of resistant varieties. Some sorts, 
as Warfield, Beder Wood, Bubach and Gandy are very susceptible; 
others, as Brandywine, Michel and Thompson, rarely are affected 
seriously. Varieties that are susceptible in one place may not be in 
another; much depends on air drainage and soil drainage. Set 

Leaf-spot, or rust. 

only healthy plants. Mowing and burning the plants after harvest 
helps to some extent. 

There are at least two other closely related forms of leaf-blight. 
One of these (Aposphceria, sp.) is distinguished from Sphcerella 
by the shape of the spot, wliich usually begins at the margin of the 
leaf and extends toward the center, in the shape of the letter V. 
The Ascochyta commonly attacks the hulls and fruit-stalks. Neither 
responds readily to treatment. 

Powdery mildew {Sphwrotheca humuli). 

Powdery mildew curls the leaves and the white mycelium of the 
fungus is conspicuous on the under surface. It rarely is troublesome 
in the field, but may be on plants forced in the greenhouse. Bor- 
deaux spraying for leaf-blight controls this disease, also. In the 
greenhouse, the plants may be dusted with flour of sulfur every 
ten days. 




Some years, especially from 1902 to 1908, the root-rot or "black 
root" has been serious, mainly in New York, Micliigan and Massa- 
chusetts. When the berries are about half grown the plants wilt 
and turn yellow; the roots are decayed. Most of this trouble is 
due to winter injury, but a bacterial disease is associated with it in 
some cases. Poor culture, lack of fertility, the crowding of plants 
in the row, insufficient mulching and wet land are favorable for this 


Weevil (Anthonomus signatus). 

Before the flower-buds open, those that are infested droop over, 
wither, and in a few days most of them break off and fall to the 

Fig. 18. — Work of the weevil, a, fruit-stalk with punctured buds ; 
b, wilting buds ; c, egg ; d, lava ; /, pupa, all three enlarged ; g, flower 
with feeding punctures. 

ground; a few hang by shreds (Fig. 18). A small white grub is 
feeding inside. The weevil is prevalent east of the Rocky Mountains ; 
it is especially serious in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North 

Insects, Diseases and Frost 273 

Carolina. Sometimes it causes a loss of fifty per cent of the crop. 
Early blossoms are injured chiefly, so that the shortage is mostly in 
early fruit, which brings the liighest prices. 

The adult beetles hibernate over winter and appear in the straw- 
berry field as soon as the earliest blossom buds show. They con- 
tinue to emerge in great numbers for a month. 
The weevil is about one-tenth of an inch long, 
black to reddish brown, with a large black spot on 
each wing cover (Fig. 19). Most of the damage 
is caused by the female weevil, which lays an egg 
in the bud, then girdles the stem below it. The 
lava feeds within the bud ; in tliree or four weeks 
it pupates and emerges as a full grown weevil. 
The new generation of weevils feeds for a short 
time on the pollen of various kinds of flowers, in- 
cluding the strawberry, then disappears. 19. — Adult 

Control measures are limited mainly to preven- 
tion. Since the larva feeds mainly on pollen, the most effective 
measure is to grow pistillate varieties and use only enough plants of 
staminate sorts to pollinate them. The susceptibility of varieties 
is in direct ratio to the amount of pollen they produce. Staminate 
varieties which blossom early and profusely may be used as a trap 
crop and are plowed under after the weevils have congregated upon 
them. Many growers rely entirely upon profuse-blooming stami- 
nate varieties for protection — those that produce enough blossoms 
to bear good crops even though attacked by the weevil. In the 
home garden, covering the plants closely with muslin before they 
bloom will protect them. The attacks of this insect are so sporadic 
that most growers find it impracticable to spray. All trash and 
weeds in and around the field should be destroyed. Use mulch 
only when absolutely necessary, as the weevils hibernate beneath it. 

Leaf-roller {Ancylis comptana). 

This is a pest in the Northern states and Canada, from Colorado 
eastward. A greenish or brownish caterpillar, about one-half of an 
inch long, with a shining brown head, draws the two halves of the 
leaflet together with silken strands and feeds on the surface of the 
inclosed leaf, causing it to turn brown and die. If abundant, by 
the middle of June the field looks as if scorched by fire. It is the 


274 Strawberry-Growing 

larva of a reddish-brown moth, about three-fourths of an inch Tvide, 
which lays eggs on the under surface of the young leaves in May or 
June. Forty-two to fifty days elapse from egg to moth. In the 
North there are two broods each year ; in the South, three or four 
broods. The insects hibernate as partly grown larvae or as pupae, 
beneath trash and mulch. 

Since the larva feeds for a short time on the upper surface of the 
leaves before entering its shelter, arsenate of lead, applied early, is 
quite effective. The application must be repeated every week or 
ten days, as fast as new leaves are put out by the plants ; one spray- 
ing does little good because the eggs are laid over a long period. 
Mowing and burning after the crop is harvested destroys all larvae 
and pupae in the folded leaves. Plow the old beds under immediately 
after harvesting. 

White grub {Lachnostema, several species). 

White grub is the most common insect attacking the strawberry. 
When some of the lustiest plants in the field begin to wilt, one or 

more grubs will be found feeding on 
the large roots or in the crown. The 
grubs are one inch to one and one- 
half inches long, thick, curved, dirty 
white with brown heads. These are 
the larvae of several species of the 
large brownish May beetles or June 
bugs. The female burrows into the 
soil and deposits eggs one to five 
Fig. 20. — White grub. The j^^^^g ^elow the surface. The grub 
mature msect, or May beetle, - , , « i . , 

is shown at a. feeds the farst season on plant roots 

at a depth of about three inches. 
On the approach of winter it burrows deeper into the soil. It does 
most of its damage the second season. The life cycle is three years, 
occasionally four. 

As the beetle does not feed on the strawberry plant and the grub 
is deep in the ground most of the time, neither can be reached with 
insecticides. White grubs are most abundant in land that has been 
in sod for several years ; hence, strawberries should not be planted 
on a sod fallow. It is best to precede strawberries with a hoed 
crop, like potatoes. If this cannot be done, plow the sod deeply 

Insects, Diseases and Frost 275 

early in the fall previous to planting, so as to expose the pupating 
grubs to the winter. 

Hogs, chickens and turkeys are efficient destroyers of grubs if al- 
lowed to follow in the furrow while plowing. When a plant is infested, 
there is no remedy but to dig down beside the crown and find the 
grub. This is not practicable commercially. Applications of kainit 
are not effective. Plants of a valuable novelty may be WTapped in 
wre fly screening when set; the roots grow through the netting, 
but the grub cannot get to the crown. 

Root-louse (Aphis forbesi). 

The presence of this insect is indicated by spots where all the 
plants have been killed, and the adjoining plants look unthrifty. 

Fig. 21. — Root-louse. On left, the stem mother ; center, viviparous fe- 
male of late summer and fall ; right, the male. 

Sometimes this is mistaken for winter injury. The plants dry out, 
the fruit is small and fails to ripen ; numerous ants around the plants 
are another indication. Dark green, bluish or blackish lice will be 
found clustered on the roots and crowns of unhealthy plants. This 
insect is widely distributed in the states east of the Rocky Mountains, 
but is most destructive in Illinois, Ohio, Delaware and Maryland. 
It does more damage on sandy soil than on heavy soil. The insects 
are very abundant for several years, then disappear for a time. 

Numerous small shining black eggs about one thirty-fifth of an 
inch long are laid in the fall by the last generation of that year, upon 
the stem and midribs of the greenest leaves. In the spring they 
hatch into wingless females, which give birth to living young through- 
out the season. In twelve to fifteen days the aphids are full grown 
and begin to bear young. The small, brown, cornfield ants carry 

276 Strawberry-Growing 

young aphids from the leaves and crowns to the roots. The ants 
feed on the honey dew that is secreted by the aphids. They carry 
the aphids to new plants when infested plants die, thus spreading 
the pest. When the food supply becomes short, winged female 
forms appear which fly to neighboring fields and establish new colo- 
nies. In late autumn true males and females appear, pair, and eggs 
are laid to continue the species over winter. 

Parasitic enemies are abundant, but do not keep the aphids in 
check. Secure clean plants and set them on clean land. Avoid corn 
or melon fields which have been infested with the corn or melon 
aphis ; such fields contain numerous ants which aid in spreading the 
strawberry root-louse. If there is any doubt about the plants being 
clean, disinfect them before they are set. Tliis is performed suc- 
cessfully only when all the eggs have hatched ; neither fumigation 
nor dipping can kill the eggs without injuring the plant. If disin- 
fection is delayed until the eggs have hatched, however, this makes 
the planting season late. Dip the plants for a few minutes in a to- 
bacco decoction or in dilute nicotine sulfate, one part to 1000; or 
fumigate with hydrocyanic acid gas, using one ounce per cubic foot 
of space for ten minutes. Plow old beds as soon as the crop has been 
harvested. In the North, if the field is burned over in early spring, 
this destroys the eggs ; in the South, the aphids winter on the roots 
and burning is not effective. 

Crown borer {Tyloderema fragarice). 

In the upper Mississippi Valley, strawberry plants are attacked 
by a thick grub, one-quarter of an inch long, white with a brown head, 
which burrows in the crown. In early spring, a chestnut brown 
snout-beetle, one-sixth of an inch long, deposits eggs in the plant 
near the surface of the ground, selecting the older plants. The 
borer reaches maturity in July and August and b transformed 
into a beetle in the cavity it has made. There is one generation 
a year. 

The beetles cannot fly, so the insect spreads very slowly. A short 
rotation prevents it from becoming established. If plants for new 
settings are dug very early in the spring, before the eggs are laid, 
there is no danger of spreading the pest. Plow under or burn all 
the plants in a field that is badly infested as soon as possible after 
the fruit is harvested. 

Insects, Diseases and Frost 


Slugs (Empria, several species). 

In April or May, numerous pale, greenish caterpillars, about 
three-fourths inch long with yellow or brownish heads, eat irregular 
holes in the foliage 
(Fig. 22). These are 
the larvae of a small, 
black, four-winged 
saw fly, which lays 
eggs on the plants 
about two weeks be- 
fore the blossoms 
open. When not 
feeding they stay on 
the under side of the 
leaf, coiled in a spi- 
ral. Short rotations 
and spraying with 

arsenate of lead before t-. nr, x • , 

,, ,, -TIG. 22. — Injury from slugs. 

the blossoms open are 

the best control measures. After the fruit is set, use hellebore. 

Root worms {Typophorus and Colapsis). 

These are the larvae of several species of common leaf beetles. The 
adult beetles are black or reddish brown, one-eighth of an inch long. 
They feed on the opening strawberry leaves in May and June, rid- 
dling them. The larvae burrow into the soil and feed on the roots of 
the strawberry ; frequently they are mistaken for white grubs. The 
beetles may be killed with arsenical sprays, but a short rotation is 
the most practicable control measure. 

Crown girdler {Otiorhynchus ovatiis). 

Occasionally strawberry plants are girdled an inch or more below 
the surface of the ground by grubs. These feed on the roots but 
rarely burrow into the crown as does the white grub. Infested plants 
wilt and die. There are two generations in a season. The best 
preventives are a short rotation and to avoid sod land. 

Ground beetles (Harpalus caliginosus and H. Pennsylvanicus) . 

In Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, the common black ground 
beetles have been known to destroy an entire strawberry crop in 

278 Strawberry-Growing 

two or three days. They iiide beneath the mulch during the day 
and emerge at night. At first they feed on the seeds, later on the 
pulp and sometimes on the , reen berries. No satisfactory method 
of control is knowTi, except the remote possibility of finding their 
breeding area and destro,^ 'n<' it. The injury is always local and 

Crown moth (Sesia rutiians). 

On the Pacific coast, strawberries suffer from a crown borer, the 
larva of a moth. The caterpillar is three-fourths of an inch long, 
dirty white, with a brown head. Plow under the old beds promptly 
and practice a short rotation. 

Flea beetle (Haltica ignita). 

In all parts of the continent, particularly in Florida and the Gulf 
states, this insect occasionally damages the strawberry crop. It is 
an active, oblong, shining green or blue beetle, about one-sixth of an 
inch long. Tiny larvae are seen on the underside of the leaves, which 
become riddled with small holes. Bordeaux, or dusting with arsenate 
of lead, will drive the beetles away. Burn weeds near the field, 
especially the evening primrose. 

Tarnished plant bug {Lygns pratensis). 

This is an inconspicuous, brownish sucking insect, about one-fifth 
of an inch long. It is found in all parts of the continent, and attacks 
many kinds of plants. It punctures the young fruits of the straw- 
berry and they remain small and deformed. Many of the "buttons" 
which are attributed to frost injury are caused by this insect. Since 
it lives on so many wild weeds, including goldenrod, wild carrot, 
mullein and aster, it is difficult to control. Keep the outskirts of the 
field clean of weeds. 

Thrips (Euthrips trittci). 

The adult thrips are one-twentieth of an inch long, brownish yellow. 
They appear in early spring as soon as the buds open, and suck the 
sap, causing the blossoms to ^ ither. Injury from thrips is most 
serious during a drouth ; rains d-. itroy them. Spraying with nicotine 
sulfate, one part to one thf.i sand, controls them fairly well, 
especially if two pounds of soa* : re added to each fifty gallons. 

Insects, Diseases and Frost 279 

Cutworms (several species). 

These are the larvae of night-flying moths. Cutworms do more 
damage to strawberries in Florida and the Gulf states than else- 
where. They are of various colors, usually dark green or blackish, 
and one-half inch to one inch long. During the day they stay in 
the soil and come out at night to feed, cutting ofi" the plants near the 
ground. The injury is most serious in early spring and fall. Poi- 
soned baits are used with some success. Mix paris green or arsenate 
of lead with bran and add a little sirup to make it stick together. 
Bran bait is eflFective, also, when used dry at the rate of fifty parts of 
bran to one of paris green. The bait is scattered among the plants. 


Rose bug. — If rose bugs attack strawberries after the fruit is set, 
spraying with arsenate of lead is unsafe. Nothing can be done ex- 
cept to hand pick them, gather them with a scoop net or cover the 
vines with netting or cheesecloth. 

Ants. — If ants are in the home garden, find the hill, poke 
a hole in it with a crowbar and pour in half a pint of bisulfide 
of carbon ; then cover it with a blanket. The fumes will destroy 
the ants. 

Snails. — In Louisiana and other parts of the South snails are 
injurious occasionally. They are harbored by the mulch, and are 
serious only in wet weather. Sprinkle air slaked lime — not quick- 
lime ■ — ■ around the plants. Soot is used in England. 

Crickets. — In the Gulf states, black and white crickets eat small 
holes in the fruit, causing it to rot. They hide beneath the leaves 
and mulch during the day and feed at night. Poisoned bran 
sweetened with sirup and distributed among the rows gives some 

Birds. — Several kinds of birds, particularly the robin, take toll 
from the strawberry field. In large fields the loss is so small, com- 
pared with the good that the birds do by eating insects, that the grower 
should not mind it; certainly he is not justified in shooting them. 
In home gardens, it may be desirable to cover the plants with cheese- 
cloth or mosquito netting, pegging it close to the ground. Some use 
poultry netting stretched on posts six feet high, so as to provide 
permanent protection. 

280 Strawberry-Growing 


The strawberry plant lies close to the ground, where the 
temperature is considerably lower than in the branches of 
fruit-trees ; hence, its blossoms are more likely to be Idlled 
than those of tree fruits. On the other hand, it has a 
long blossoming season, especially in the South, so that 
rarely are all the blossoms killed. The low stature of the 
plant makes it comparatively easy to protect from frost. 

The amount of damage depends on the time of the frost, 
its severity and its duration. In the North, if the early 
blossoms are killed, others will develop, but these are 
likely to be small and weak. In the South, a new crop of 
blossoms appears a few days after the first has been 
destroyed ; the only loss is in delaying the season three or 
four weeks. Pistillate varieties, as a class, are somewhat 
more resistant to frost than staminate varieties. No 
variety is "frost proof." When a number of varieties are 
grown side by side, one or two may be injured less than 
the others ; this may not be due to superior hardiness but 
because they were not at the most susceptible stage of 
development. Blossoms are injured most easily when 
they first expand, and during fertilization. Varieties with 
long fruit-stalks, which elevate the blossoms well above 
the foliage, are especially susceptible. A light frost merely 
touches the apex of the cone of pistils, causing the berries 
to "button." Buttoning is not due to frost altogether; 
the tarnished plant bug, dry weather or insufficient nour- 
ishment may result in buttons. Frost injury is confined 
to the pistils, which turn black. The stamens and petals 
are not injured ; the blossom looks normal unless examined 
closely (Plate X). 

The most practicable method of avoiding frost injury 

Insects, Diseases and Frost 281 

is to select an elevated site (page 6). The principal 
means for securing protection for established plantations 
are actually to cover or screen the plants with straw, cloth 
or other material; to prevent rapid radiation of heat 
from the earth by making an artificial cloud or smudge ; 
to warm the air ; to create a draft or current of air ; to 
apply water. 


One of the objections to a winter or spring mulch in the 
North is that it increases the danger from frost. The 
chief reason for this is that bare soil absorbs heat during 
the day and radiates a portion of it at night, while a 
straw mulch reflects much of the heat of the sun, leaving 
the soil beneath it cold. Mulched plants are somewhat 
more succulent, also. A difference of several degrees has 
been noticed on a frosty night between mulched and un- 
mulched fields. This disadvantage is slight, compared 
with the benefits of a winter mulch in the North. 

The winter mulch may be used for frost protection in 
two ways. If it is left on the plants late in the spring, or 
until they begin to bleach, the blossoming season is re- 
tarded and the danger from frost lessened thereby (page 
121). Some growers remove the winter mulch from half 
of the field early and leave it on the other half as late as 
they dare. The mulch, also, may be used to cover the 
plants when a frost is threatened. This method has been 
used more than any other since 1557, when Thomas Tusser 
wrote in his " Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandrie " : 

"If frost do continue, take this for a law, 
The strawberries look to be covered with straw, 
Laid overly trim upon crotches and bows, 
And after uncovered as weather allows." 

282 Strawberry-Growing 

A heavy winter mulch is pushed from over the plants into 
the middles, where it is ready to be used for covering the 
plants when frost is imminent. One man can cover one- 
half to one acre before midnight. The straw can be left 
on the plants three or four days if the weather con- 
tinues cool, but should be removed as soon as possible. 
Only enough straw should be used barely to cover the 

Throughout the South where no winter mulch is 
used, the fruiting mulch serves the double purpose of 
keeping the berries clean and affording frost protec- 
tion. Weather Bureau predictions are relied on for 
timely warning. A few hours before sunset the entire 
force is put at work with hand rakes covering the plants 
with the pine straw mulch. When no fruiting mulch is 
used, two or three handfuls of pine straw are thrown 
over each plant. 


Lath screens are effective in home gardens. Market- 
gardeners use muslin hotbed sash; these will keep off 
a frost of ten or twelve degrees. O. W. Blacknall, of 
North Carolina, covered his field with the muslin cloth 
used for tobacco plant-beds. Small stakes were driven 
into the ground in straight rows as wide apart as the 
strip of cloth. At the top of each stake was a wire hook to 
hold the cloth in place. He reported : ^ " Berries under 
the cloth ripened about one week earlier than those outside. 
On April 16, 1890, the ground froze half an inch deep and 
frost killed every exposed blossom. Not one per cent of 
those under the cloth was lost." The shading of straw- 
berries is discussed further on page 265. 

1 Rept. Mo. Hort. Soc, 1900. p. 349. 

Insects, Diseases and Frost 283 

Smudging and heating. 

The object of smudging is to produce a cloud of smoke 
which will prevent the radiation of heat from the earth; 
the object of heating is actually to warm the air. These 
methods find favor in districts where no mulch is used, 
especially in the Pacific Northwest. They are most 
effective when the area to be protected is large and the 
land approximately level. On hilly land the cold air 
settles down under the smudge cloud from higher points 
and pushes it upward. 

Piles of dry kindling are covered with wet straw, manure, 
corn cobs or sawdust, and are lighted with kerosene ; if 
coal tar is poured over the fires, the smoke is denser. The 
distance between piles on the outside of the field should 
not be less than seventy-five feet, especially on the wind- 
ward side, but may be less inside the field. 

In recent years, heating has largely superseded smudg- 
ing. There are a number of types of patented heaters; 
most of these burn crude oil, but some burn coal. At 
least 100 heaters are required to protect an acre. The 
expense of this method is $20 to $50 an acre a season. It 
is useless to begin without a large supply of oil to replen- 
ish the heaters. In 1910 Charles Staib, of Missouri, 
reported : ^ "The experiments taught us that we need 125 
to 150 pots per acre to protect the bloom and berries fully 
from a frost of 24 degrees above zero. One hundred 
heaters per acre raise the temperature five degrees. The 
cost per acre for 100 heaters, besides labor, was $20 for 
heaters and $15.14 for oil. The temperature went to 
24 degrees outside the field. Where we used 100 heaters 
the yield was 245 crates per acre which sold for $551.25 
gross. Where no heaters were used, the yield was 96.6 

» Kept. Mo. St. Bd. Hort., 1910, pp. 47-9. 

284 Strawberry-Growing 

crates per acre, which sold for $113.32 gross; so that the 
net profit, after deducting the cost of crates and picking, 
was $258.29 per acre, and we still have heaters on hand." 
If a thermometer placed near the surface of the ground 
reads 37 degrees or less by two a.m., and no clouds or 
mist are rising, it is advisable to start the fires. 

Light frosts may be warded off by building large fires 
at the lower end of the field. The hot air rises and cold 
air rushes in to take its place, so that a current of air 
sets toward the fires from all parts of the field that are 
higher. When air is kept in motion there is not likely to 
be a frost. 

If the ground is wet thoroughly, either by sprinkling or 
by irrigation, the evening before a frost is expected the dan- 
ger is lessened, since the increased amount of water vapor 
in the air raises the dew point. If frosted plants are 
sprinkled at daybreak, before the sun thaws them, they 
are not likely to be injured, even though they were frozen 
severely, since the water makes them thaw out gradually. 
Until recently, this was practicable only in home gardens ; 
now the overhead system of irrigation by sprinkling pro- 
vides means for doing this commercially. It is necessary 
that the nozzle line shall rotate every four or five minutes, 
so as to keep all the plants wet. It is possible that heating 
the water used in the sprinkling system may be found 



The strawberry is burdened more heavily with indefi- 
nite and mediocre varieties than any other fruit. Over 
500 varieties are grown in North America to-day. New 
varieties indicate that the species still is in the process 
of evolution and that continued improvement in the 
garden form may be expected. They also indicate that 
there is an active interest in the fruit and an enlarging 
market for it. Fruits that command only a limited mar- 
ket, as the quince and currant, have few varieties. The 
more new varieties the better, provided each is distinct 
and better than all other sorts in at least one important 
respect. This has not been the case with two-thirds of 
the varieties that have been introduced since the success 
of the Hovey stimulated effort in this direction. The 
ease with which new varieties may be grown and multi- 
plied and the very short time that it is necessary to wait 
for results, as compared with tree fruits, have encouraged 
carelessness in breeding varieties and haste in introducing 


Occasionally some one declares that the old varieties 
are better than the new and protests against the intro- 
duction of others. He forgets that the standard sorts 




to which he clings once were novelties. All must be 
tested to find the few that are worthy. The rapidity 
with which Klondike supplanted Thompson, Excelsior 
and other varieties in the South shows how quickly a 
really meritorious sort secures recognition. It is not 
necessary for the individual fruit-grower to test all the 
novelties; this would be as foolish as not to test any. 

Some men fail because they 
cling to the old sorts long after 
these are outclassed by more 
recent introductions. 

It is recognized now that the 
adaptation of varieties is a local 
and personal problem. We no 
longer quarrel with our neighbor 
because he is of the opinion that 
Chesapeake is a better variety 
than Dunlap. 

The attitude of the grower 
toward novelties should be one 
of conservatism. He should 
cling to the standard sorts until 
new ones have demonstrated 
their superiority, as grown on his own farm. By means of 
trade catalogues, horticultural society proceedings, experi- 
ment station bulletins and conferences with neighbors, he 
can keep posted on the newer varieties. A few of those 
that might be useful for his conditions should be grown 
in a small way. He should have a small trial plot; it 
costs little and may be worth much. A dozen plants of 
a variety are sufficient to give a fair idea of its general 
appearance and behavior. If it seems promising, after 
two years in the trial bed, a small commercial area may 

Fig. 23. — Matthew Craw- 
ford, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio ; 
for nearly fifty years the fore- 
most American propagator of 
the strawberry and one who has 
urged and practiced conserva- 
tism in describing novelties. 

Varieties 287 

be set. Always have a standard variety near it for 


The answer to the perennial question, "What is the 
best variety of strawberry," constantly is becoming more 
involved. For many years a reply, "Grow the Wilson," 
would have been quite satisfactory in most cases. Now, 
desirable varieties are more numerous and market re- 
quirements much more diverse and exacting. The adap- 
tation of varieties to localities, soils and purposes is so 
intricate and personal a problem that few growers care 
to advise others what to plant. 

Adaptation to climate and soil. 

No fruit is more fickle about its habitat than the straw- 
berry. Each region has favorite varieties ; the same 
sort may give radically different results on neighboring 
farms. Many varieties are of local adaptation only. 
The Longworth has been forgotten, save on the San 
Francisco market. The Atlantic disappeared from cultiva- 
tion, except in Oswego county. New York. The Dollar was 
discarded everywhere, except in the Florin district, Cali- 
fornia. The Clark was of little value in the Willamette 
Valley, Oregon, where it originated, but found a congenial 
habitat in the Hood River Valley. At Selbyville, Dela- 
ware, over seventy-five per cent of the planting is Parson ; 
at Bridgeville, twenty-five miles away, nearly all the acre- 
age is Superior. It would be interesting to speculate 
why the Longworth, Wilson, Monarch, Sharpless, Jessie 
and other old varieties have persisted in commercial culti- 
vation on the Pacific coast, long after they have been 
discarded elsewhere. 

288 Strawberry-Growing 

Although a number of valuable sorts are of very re- 
stricted adaptation, some succeed under many conditions 
of soil and climate. These cosmopolitan sorts have made 
possible the extension of strawberry-culture to all parts 
of the continent. Varieties that succeed nearly every- 
where, as the Wilson, Crescent, Dunlap and Haverland, 
dominate the markets. Varieties that are valued only 
in a few sections are likely to pass from cultivation be- 
cause the demand for plants is not large enough to justify 
nurserymen in propagating them. When considering 
new varieties, give preference to those that have enough 
stamina to thrive under widely different conditions. 
These are likely to acquire a reputation in the markets. 

Purpose for which the fruit is grown. 

Few varieties are valued equally for all purposes. 
Those who raise berries for home use will select varieties 
of a different type than the favorites of the commercial 
grower. First of all, they will be of high quality. It is 
not necessary that they be firm ; the firmest varieties 
seldom are of high quality. If the home garden receives 
exceptional care, some of the more tender and less pro- 
ductive but high flavored English sorts may be grown. 
Berries of large size, rich color and high flavor are valued 
in a home variety more than a very heavy yield. The 
Margaret is a typical amateur variety; it responds 
magnificently to high culture in the home garden, but is 
not a profitable commercial sort. Varieties of different 
periods of ripening should be selected, so as to provide 
a succession throughout the normal season, and includ- 
ing some everbearing sorts for fall fruiting. 

When strawberries are grown for a near or personal 
market, high quality is not as essential. Town buyers 

Varieties 289 

are more attracted by size, color and freshness, than by 
high flavor. A succession of varieties is desirable. There 
is, also, a limited demand in the large cities for "fancy" 
berries. A few persons will pay fifty to seventy-five cents 
a box for these when ordinary berries sell for ten or fifteen 
cents. Berries for the fancy market must be very large 
and attractive in form and color, preferably deep red, 
with a glossy, almost varnished, appearance. If they 
are of high flavor, so much the better, but this is not as 
essential as very large size. 

The most important characteristic of the valuable whole- 
sale market sort is good shipping quality. A variety yield- 
ing 20,000 quarts an acre is worthless if the berries cannot 
be put on the market in good condition. Productiveness 
is next in importance, size and quality last. Most of the 
sorts that have captured the markets have been only fair 
in quality, but firm and productive ; if attractive in color, 
so much the better. For long distance shipment, berries 
of medium size are preferable to those that are large — 
they carry better. Uniformity in size and regularity in 
shape are desirable, also. 

Preferences of the market. 

The selection of varieties is influenced somewhat by 
the preferences of the markets. Certain varieties have 
an established reputation in certain markets ; it is worth 
while to capitalize that reputation. The San Francisco 
Chronicle for 1898 contained this illuminating statement : 
" The San Francisco market knows only two varieties — 
the Longworth and Sharpless — and there may or may 
not be in any year any considerable quantity of either on 
the market. All compact, red berries are known as Long- 
worth; all coarse, light-colored berries as Sharpless." 

290 Strawberry-Growing 

It is more profitable to grow what the market wants 
than to attempt to create a demand for a new variety. 

The cultivation of strawberries primarily for the 
canning factory is becoming an important industry in 
some sections, notably in Maryland, Delaware, Ontario, 
British Columbia and Oregon, The ideal variety for 
canning, according to E. Hofer, of Oregon, must have 
"tartness and high color, be red clear through, have solid 
flesh, and hold color and form after being cooked in cans. 
It must give an exceptionally heavy yield of medium 
sized berries." ^ In addition, it should be self-stemming 
or part readily from the shuck when picked. A new 
type of varieties, to be grown solely for canning, is 
likely to develop in the next few years. 

How many varieties to grow. 

As competition increases, the necessity for standardiza- 
tion of varieties becomes more imperative. In recent 
years, the number of varieties that are grown for the 
general market at any one shipping point has been much 
reduced. A car of a single variety commands the at- 
tention of buyers more than a car of several varieties. 
Many shipping districts now grow one variety almost 
exclusively ; as the Aroma in the Ozark region, the Clark 
in the Hood River Valley, and the Klondike in Florida 
and the Gulf states. The very few varieties that are 
grown commercially in the South are in striking contrast 
to the large number grown in the North. This is because 
the markets of southern growers are distant, while those 
of northern growers are near. If each district grew 
early, midseason and late varieties, the late sorts at 
southern points would compete with the early sorts at 

1 Rept. Ore. State Bd. Hort., 1903, p. 241. 

Varieties 291 

northern points. Furthermore, each variety ripens over 
a much longer period in the South than in the North. 
When there is a shipping association, it is especially impor- 
tant to grow but one or two varieties. This makes it pos- 
sible to standardize the pack, so that sales may be made on 
a definite basis and advertising may be more effective. 

When catering to a local market, a number of sorts, 
from extra early to very late, may be profitable ; but for 
the general market this is not likely to pay. Between 
March and July many districts compete in the general 
market ; each district is forced to grow varieties that 
ripen when the market is supplied least, regardless of 
other factors. Until about 1890, northern growers 
found it profitable to grow early varieties for the whole- 
sale market. Now southern berries have driven early 
varieties from the North, except when grown for the 
local markets. Fifteen years ago the Ozark region, espe- 
cially northern Arkansas, grew Thompson and Michel 
to advantage, but these were driven off the market by 
Klondikes from farther South, and this district was forced 
to grow a medium late variety — the Aroma. The ad- 
vice of G. T. Turpin, of Missouri, is applicable generally : 
"You should first find the niche in the market where 
you can get in first. After that, determine the variety 
for filling this niche ; then plant all of one variety." 


Not more than sixty of the 1800 North American 
varieties have attained prominence. Seventeen of the 

^ All of the 1800 varieties of North American origin are described in 
Technical Bulletin No. 11, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, by 
S. W. Fletcher. 

292 . Strawberry-Growing 

most important of those now in cultivation are described 
below. Staminate varieties are designated by (S) ; pistil- 
late varieties by (P). 

Aroma (S). {Cycloma.) — Originated in 1889, by E. W. Cruse, 
Leavenworth, Kansas, seedling of Cumberland Triumph; intro- 
duced in 1892. Plant semi-spreading; leaflets large, dark green; 
runners moderate; blossoms open midseason to late; fruit-stems 
erect, moderately spreading; berry large, round-conic, bright 
scarlet; calyx medium, adherent; seeds fairly prominent; flesh 
light red, firm ; core white, solid ; flavor mild subacid ; quality 
good. Medium late. The dominant variety in Arkansas, Kansas, 
southwest Missoiu-i. Valued because of its uniformly large size 
and productiveness. It ripens before Gandy and lasts a week 

Brandywine (S). — Originated in 1889, by E. T. Ingram, West- 
chester, Pennsylvania, a chance seedling supposed to be Glendale 
X Cumberland Triumph ; introduced in 1895. Plant stocky ; leaves 
medium green; runners moderate; fruit-stalks long, carried well 
above the foliage; berry large, broadly round-conic, dull, dark 
crimson ; calyx very large, easily detached ; seeds yellow, exserted, 
but not prominent; flesh dark salmon red, rather coarse grained, 
firm; core hollow; flavor brisk subacid, moderately rich; quahty 
good. Medium late. Valued in many districts, especially in south- 
ern California. The calyx frequently turns brown after the berry 
is picked and injures the appearance of the fruit. A good canning 
variety (Plate XXIV). 

Bubach (P). (Western Union, of some.) — Originated in 1882, by 
J. G. Bubach, Princeton, Illinois, one of several seedlings from 
hand-sown seeds of unknown parentage; introduced in 1886. 
Plant rather low, spreading; leaves large, dark green; runners 
few; fruit-stalks short, rather weak; flowers large; berry large 
to very large, irregular-conic, usually ribbed, waxy light crimson; 
calyx large, adherent; seeds large, even with the surface; flesh 
medium red, streaked with white, medium firm to soft, coarse 
grained ; core solid ; flavor subacid ; quality fair. Midseason. 
Widely grown between 1890 and 1905 and still valued for home use 
or near-by markets. Commonly pollinated with Michel, Clyde 
or Aroma. When properly pollinated, Bubach is one of the heaviest 

Plate XXIV. Noteworthy Varieties of Strawberries. — Above, 
Brandywine, a standard sort under irrigation in southern California ; 
below, Wilson, the dominant variety from 1860 until 1885, and still 
grown, especially in the Northwest. 

Varieties 293 

yielding varieties grown and usually it carries out all its berries to 
a good size. Pronounced "Bubaw." 

Clark (S). (Clark's Seedling; Clark's Early; Early Idaho; Hood 
River.) — Originated by Fred E. Clark in Mt. Tabor District, 
near Portland, Oregon, from hand-sown seeds ; supposed to be a 
seedling of Wilson ; introduced about 1880. Plant erect; runners 
moderate; fruit-stems long, stout, erect; berry medium, round- 
conic, dark crimson; seeds bright yellow, protruding; flesh dark 
red, very firm ; core solid ; flavor subacid ; quality good. Midsea- 
son. Grown almost to the exclusion of other sorts in the Hood 
River Valley, Oregon, and valued in other parts of the Pacific 
Northwest; fails in the East. As grown in the Northwest it has 
remarkable shipping qualities. It requires more moisture than 
many varieties and is a light bearer. A good canning sort. 

Crescent (P). (Boynton; Park Beauty.) — Originated in 1870 
by Wm. Parmalee, New Haven, Connecticut, as a chance seedling ; 
introduced in 1876. Plant tall, with smooth, slender leaf-stalks 
and small medium green leaflets; runners very numerous; fruit- 
stalks fairly erect, well branched ; berry medium or below, round- 
conic, usually with a depression in the apex, bright scarlet ; calyx 
medium, recurved, easily detached ; seeds medium, even with the 
surface or slightly protruding ; flesh light red, medium firm ; core 
pink, solid ; flavor acid ; quality fair. Medium early. Crescent 
Improved does not differ materially from the type. 

The Crescent has been grown more than any other variety except 
the Wilson. Between 1875 and 1890 it dominated all markets; 
in the nineties it was superseded in most places by Warfield. The 
most valuable points of Crescent are productiveness, even on poor 
land, and great vigor ; it is deficient in color, firmness and quality 
and rusts badly. The early blossoms produce enough pollen to 
fertilize themselves and bear lightly without any pollinizer. If 
neglected, the runners soon take possession of the entire field and 
the berries become very small. 

Dunlap (S). (Senator Dunlap; Senator.) — Originated in 1890 
by J. R. Reasoner, Urbana, Illinois, parentage uncertain, but Cum- 
berland Triumph, Crescent, Windsor and Sucker State were used 
in the crosses ; introduced in 1900. Plant rather small but vigorous, 
semi-spreading; leaf -stalks long, slender, with dark green leaflets 
of medium size; runners numerous; fruit-stalks long, medium 
stout, usually unbranched ; blossoms in midseason ; berry medium 

294 Strawberry-Growing 

to large, round-conic, often slightly necked, glossy, bright dark 
crimson; calyx of medium size, reflexed, easily detached; seeds 
medium, slightly sunken ; flesh rich dark red, medium firm, fine- 
grained ; core red, partly hollow ; flavor mild subacid ; quality 
good. Medium early. 

The most widely grown variety in the North at this time. It 
tends to produce too many plants, rusts considerably and the ber- 
ries are variable in size; but they are attractive, of good quality 
and are produced freely. During the latter part of the season the 
berries run small, largely on account of the numerous runners; it 
is better to restrict these to a narrow row. The berries quickly 
lose their bright color on the market. Dunlap is one of the best 
pollinizers for pistillate sorts, as it blooms profusely from early 
to late. It is one of the best varieties for those who cannot give 
high culture, as it thrives under neglect almost as well as the Wilson 
and Crescent. Dunlap is not firm enough for distant markets. 
A good variety for canning. 

Excelsior (of Hubach) (S). — Originated in 1890 by Louis Hubach, 
Judsonia, Arkansas, Wilson x Hoflfman ; introduced in 1897. Plant 
tall; leaflets small, dark green; runners numerous; fruit-stalks 
short, procumbent; flowers small; berry medium, round-conic, 
glossy, deep dark crimson ; calyx small, adherent ; seeds of medium 
size, depressed; flesh dark red, firm, juicy; core dark red, soHd; 
flavor very acid ; quality fair. Very early. This variety has 
been planted extensively in the South for northern markets. It is 
valued for its earliness, attractive appearance and shipping quality ; 
also because it bears well in cold weather. It is known as one of the 
sourest varieties, partly because it colors long before it is ripe. The 
foUage often rusts badly, causing late shipments to be insipid. 
If the rows become thick, the berries run small. It is one of the 
most dependable extra early sorts. 

Gandy (S). {Gaudy's Prize; First Season, of some.) — Originated 
in 1885 by W. S. Gandy, Newport, New Jersey, Jersey Queen x 
Glendale; introduced in 1888. Plant low, spreading; leaves of 
medium size, medium green ; runners moderate ; fruit-stalks large, 
erect; berry large, uniform, roundish to round-conic, rich dark, 
dull scarlet ; calyx large, easily detached ; seeds numerous, slightly 
protruding ; flesh medium red, firm, coarse-grained ; core hollow ; 
flavor brisk subacid ; quahty good. Very late. Gandy has been 
the standard late variety since 1890. In recent years it has been 

Varieties 295 

displaced by Aroma in some sections. Gandy requires strong soil, 
preferably with a clay subsoil, and an abundant supply of moisture ; 
on thin, dry soils it buttons. Underdrained muck swamps are 
known as "Gandy land." A short season of ripening — usually 
but three or four pickings, is characteristic of this variety. The 
first blossoms frequently are without pollen, so it is well to plant it 
with Aroma. On very strong soils, it makes a rank growth in the 
fall, which delays the elaboration of fruit buds. An excellent 

Glen Mary (semi-S). — Originated by J. A. Ingram, East Brad- 
ford, Pennsylvania, as a chance seedling where Crescent, Downer's 
Prolific and Sharpless had been grown ; introduced in 1896. Plant 
spreading ; leaflets dark green ; runners moderate ; fruit-stalks of 
medium length, fairly erect; berry large, irregular round-conic, 
ridged and deeply pitted, dark scarlet; calyx large, moderately 
adherent ; seeds inconspicuous, of medium size, even with the sur- 
face or protruding slightly; flesh medium red, firm, juicy; core 
solid ; flavor mild subacid to sweet ; quality good. Midseason. 
Popular for market and home use because of its productiveness and 
large, handsome berries of good quality. It has two serious defects ; 
many of the early blossoms do not produce enough pollen, and the 
berries tend to have white tips. The bright color fades quickly in 
the market. It is commonly planted with Lovett, Dunlap or Parson 
to furnish pollen. Under favorable conditions it spaces its runners 
well and bears heavily. 

Haverland (P). — Originated in 1882 by B. H. Haverland, Cin- 
cinnati, Ohio, Crescent x Sharpless; introduced in 1887. Plant 
large, upright ; foliage abundant, light green ; runners few ; fruit- 
stalks short, too weak to hold up the fruit ; berries medium to large, 
long-conic, sometimes necked, bright light scarlet; calyx medium, 
easily detached ; seeds numerous, large, slightly protruding ; flesh 
light red, medium firm ; core pink, solid ; flavor subacid ; quality 
good. Midseason. Popular for home use and near markets be- 
cause of its exceptional productiveness. Rather soft for distant 
markets and too light in color but it carries fairly well if picked early. 
In wet seasons the berries become quite soft. It has a long ripen- 
ing season and is seldom injured seriously by frost. Dunlap, 
Clyde, Parson, Lovett and Beder Wood are good pollinizers for 
Haverland. It profits by an abundance of moisture. Haverland 
is one of the best sorts for family use. 

296 Strawberry-Growing 

Jucunda (S). (Knox's 700.) — The origin of the American stock 
of this foreign variety is in doubt. In 1866 John Saul, of Wash- 
ington, D.C., said, "It originated with Messrs. Jamin and Durand, 
France, and was imported by me in 1858" ; but the same year W. 
R. Prince of Flushing, New York, asserted, "The Jucunda originated 
with John Salter, Hammersmith, England, and was imported by me 
in 1859." It is probable that the latter account is correct. Plant 
large, upright, shallow rooted; leaf -stalks smooth, leaflets large, 
light green; runners moderate; fruit-stalks long; flowers large; 
berry large, obtuse-conic, frequently irregular and coxcombed, 
light crimson; flesh light red, firm; flavor sweet; quality good. 
Midseason to late. Since 1860, Jucunda has been a standard variety 
for heavy, rich soils and intensive cultm-e ; it does not succeed under 
other conditions. John Knox, of Pittsburg, secured remarkable 
results with this variety ; between 1860 and 1871 he reported yields 
of 300 to 600 bushels an acre. Jucunda does best under hill train- 
ing. The young plants grow slowly and are rather weak at first ; 
the old plants are shallow rooted, tender, and require special care 
in mulching. Jucunda now is grown more commonly in the West 
than in the East. It is a special purpose variety. 

K^londike (S). — Originated by R. L. Cloud, Independence, 
Louisiana, Pickerproof x Hoffman; introduced in 1901. Plant 
erect ; leaf -stalks long, leaflets of medium size, dark green ; runners 
moderate ; fruit-stalks shorter than the foliage, fairly stout ; berry 
medium to large, round-conic, dark crimson; calyx large, reflexed, 
adherent, tinged with dull red ; seeds medium, scattered, depressed ; 
flesh dark red, very firm ; core red, solid ; flavor acid ; quality 
fair. Midseason to late. Klondike quickly supplanted Michel, 
Thompson, Excelsior and other varieties in the South; now it 
is grown almost exclusively in many parts of the South, especially in 
the Gulf states, for northern markets. It is a superb shipping 
variety, of good size and attractive appearance, but it is sour and 
its lateness is a disadvantage. It is not very resistant to drought, 
but is quite productive. The blossoms are protected from frost by 
the foliage. In Florida it is being supplanted by Missionary. 

Marshall (S). (Henry.) — Originated in 1890, as a chance seedhng 
by Marshall F. Ewell, Marslifield Hills, Massachusetts; intro- 
duced in 1893. Plant large, erect; leaf-stalks thick, long; leaflets 
large, medium green, irregularly toothed ; runners moderate ; fruit- 
stalks of medium length, stiff, usually double; berry large, round- 

Varieties 297 

conic, often furrowed, dark crimson ; calyx of medium size, slightly 
discolored, somewhat depressed, easily detached ; seeds rather 
large, shghtly protruding; flesh dark red, firm, juicy; core pink, 
partly hoUow ; flavor mild subacid ; quality very good. Midseason. 
Marshall is a standard variety for home use, forcing or a special 
market. It requires high culture and a rich, heavy soil; it fails 
completely on poor and sandy soils. Marshall is a favorite among 
market-gardeners who practice hill culture and manm-e heavily. 
It is an excellent exhibition variety on account of its large size, 
beauty and high quahty; but it is rather unproductive, tender in 
bloom and rusts badly. It is preeminently an amateur and special 
purpose variety. 

Sharpless (S). (Dawley; Ontario; Shaw.) — Originated in 1872 
by J. K. Sharpless, Catawissa, Pennsylvania, from mixed seed of 
Jucunda, Charles Downing, Wilson and Col. Cheney, but thought 
to be a seedling of Charles Downing; introduced in 1877. Plant 
of medium size, rather spreading ; leaves medium in size and color ; 
runners moderate ; fruit-stalks long, stiff ; berry large, very irregu- 
lar, wedge-conic, bright scarlet ; calyx medium, easily detached ; 
seeds protruding; flesh light red, medium firm; core pink, hard, 
often hollow; flavor mild subacid; quality good. Midseason to 
late. Between 1880 and 1900 the standard combination for com- 
mercial culture was Crescent pollinated with Sharpless. Sharpless 
is not as productive as Crescent but the berries are much larger; 
few varieties produce as many large berries. The main defect of 
this variety is the misshapen fruit. It is rather capricious, tender 
in blossom, and the berries are likely to have green tips and decay 
before fuUy ripe. It succeeds better in hills than in matted rows, 
and requires strong soil and high culture ; then it bears very large 
berries of good quality. Sharpless is still grown to some extent on 
the Pacific coast, especially in California and in British Columbia. 

Warfield (P). —Originated about 1882 by C. B. Warfield, Sand- 
oval, lUinois, a chance seedling, thought to be Crescent x Wilson; 
introduced in 1885. Plant erect ; leaflets medium in size and color, 
sharp-toothed; runners very numerous; fruit-stalks long, stout; 
berry medium, conic, glossy dark crimson; caljTC large, easily 
detached; seeds prominent, protruding; flesh dark red, firm, fine- 
grained ; core red, solid ; flavor acid ; quality fair. Early. Be- 
tween 1890 and 1900 Warfield was grown more than any other 
early variety ; the " big four " of that period were Crescent, Bubach, 

298 Strawberry-Growing 

Haverland and Warfield, — all pistillate sorts. It is still valued, 
especially in the Mississippi Valley. Warfield is a handsome berry, 
an excellent shipper, a good cropper and stands frost better than 
most varieties; but it cannot endure hot weather and does not 
carry out the crop unless there is plenty of moisture. The plants 
must be thinned severely for best results. Warfield is commonly 
pollinated with Excelsior or Climax for early, and Dunlap for late. 
It is especially valuable for canning. 

William Belt (S). — Originated about 1888 by William Belt, 
Mechanicsburg, Ohio ; introduced in 1896. Plant rather spread- 
ing ; leaflets of medium size, light green ; runners numerous ; fruit- 
stalks long, stiff ; berry large, first fruits very irregular, later ones 
wedge-conic, bright crimson; calyx medium, easily detached; 
seeds medium, about even with the surface; flesh medium red, 
medium firm, fine-grained ; core pink, partly hollow ; flavor mild 
subacid ; quality very good to best. Medium late. William Belt 
vies with Marshall as a dessert variety. It is widely grown for 
home use and for a near fancy market. It is one of the best flavored 
berries grown but is rather uncertain in yield and rusts badly in 
some sections. William Belt is of the Sharpless type, both in plant 
and berry, but more productive. It thrives best in moist soils and 
fails in sands. The runners should be restricted for best results. 
It is a good pollinizer for pistillate sorts. 

Wilson (S). {Wilson's Albany.) — Originated in 1851 by James 
Wilson, Albany, New York from mixed seed of Hovey, Boss' Phoenix 
and Black Prince grown without hand crossing but open to natural 
cross-pollination; introduced in 1854. Plants of medium size, 
rather spreading; foliage large, dark green; runners moderate; 
fruit-stems of medium length, erect, branched; berry medium, 
regular round-conic, dark crimson ; seeds even wdth the surface, 
rather prominent ; flesh dark red, very firm ; core solid ; flavor 
acid ; quality good. Medium early (Plate XXIV) . Wilson is the 
most cosmopolitan of North American varieties. Between 1860 
and 1885 it was grown more than all other varieties ; it practically 
monopolized the market until the introduction of the Crescent. 
At the height of its popularity it was one of the most vigorous and 
productive varieties iever grown, and thrived under conditions of 
neglect that would have starved other sorts. It colors very early, 
so that it has been marketed while still unripe and very sour ; when 
fxilly ripe, the quality is good. After the first two pickings, the 

Varieties 299 

berries rapidly dwindle in size. The Wilson is quite susceptible 
to leaf -blight ; this was one of the causes for its rapid decline after 
1885. It is still grown considerably, especially in eastern Canada, 
British Columbia, Oregon and other parts of the West, where it is 
valued especially for canning. It is an excellent poUinizer for pis- 
tillate sorts. 


Annie Hubach (S). (Anna, o^ some.) — Originated by Louis 
Hubach, Judsonia,. Arkansas, Warfield x Thompson; introduced in 
1904. Berry medium, round-conic with slight neck, light crimson ; 
flesh pale red, firm, subacid, fair ; runners numerous. Medium early. 

Arizona (S). (Arizona Everbearing; Mexican Everbearing.) — 
Originated Phoenix, Arizona, chance seedling, supposedly of Jessie ; 
introduced about 1890. Berry medium, round-conic, Ught scarlet; 
flesh light red, soft, mild subacid, good ; runners few. Midseason. 
Widely planted in the irrigated sections of the Pacific Southwest 
between 1895 and 1905, especially in southern California and Ari- 
zona. Still grown to a limited extent where heat and drought resist- 
ance are important. Improved Arizona is a selection not differing 
materially from the type. 

August Luther (S). (Luther.) — Originated 1875, by August Luther, 
Sedalia, Missouri; introduced 1891. Berry medium, round-conic, 
bright crimson; flesh light red, medium firm, subacid, good; 
runners moderate. Early. Valued for home use or near market. 

Australian (S). (Australian Everbearing; Australian Crimson.) 
— Introduced into California in 1885 by E. J. Baldwin, who is said 
to have secured it from Australia ; but probably is a renamed Ameri- 
can variety. Berry medium to large, round-conic, crimson; flesh 
medium red, very firm, subacid, good; runners moderate. Very 
early. In 1893 it was the dominant variety in southern California, 
but is now largely superseded by Brandywine. Drought and heat 

Beder Wood (S). (Racster ; Food.) — Originated in 1881, by 
Beder Wood, Moline, Illinois; introduced 1890 (as Racster), and 
in 1891 as Beder Wood. Berry medium or below, regular round- 
conic, scarlet; flesh light red, medium firm, brisk subacid, good; 
runners numerous. Early. Has been a standard commercial 
variety but now passing out. Soft and of poor color, but very 

300 Strawberry-Growing 

Captain Jack (S). (Burt.) — Originated about 1870, by Samuel 
Miller, Bluffton, Missouri, chance seedling, supposedly of Wilson; 
introduced 1874. Berry medium, round-conic, bright scarlet; 
flesh light red, firm, acid, good ; runners numerous. Medium early. 
Has been a standard variety in the Rocky Mountain states. One 
of the hardiest sorts. 

Carrie (P). — Originated by Mark T. Thompson, Rio Vista, 
Virginia, seedhng of Haverland; introduced about 1894. Berry 
large, long-conic, dark scarlet ; flesh mediinn red, medium firm, 
acid, good ; runners moderate. Medium late. In some places 
considered an improvement on its parent. 

Chesapeake (S). — Originated in 1903, by Geo. W. Parks, Nan- 
ticoke Point, Maryland, chance seedling; introduced 1906. Berry 
large, round-conic, bright crimson ; flesh medium red, very firm, 
mild subacid, very good ; runners few. Mediimi late. Rapidly 
growing in favor as a market variety, especially in the Atlantic 

Climax (of Graham) (S). — Originated by H. W. Graham, 
Tyaskin, Maryland, Bubach x Hoffman ; introduced 1902. Berry 
medium, round-conic, obtuse, dull light crimson ; flesh medium 
red, firm, brisk subacid, fair; runners moderate. Medium early. 
Has been grown considerably in the Atlantic states. 

Clyde (S). {Cycloma.) — Originated by James Stayman, Leaven- 
worth, Kansas, seedling of Cyclone ; introduced 1890. Berry 
medium to large, round-conic, light scarlet ; flesh medium red, 
medium firm, subacid, good ; runners moderate. Medium early. 
Valued for home use or near market. Too soft for distant market. 
Needs a strong soil to carry out the crop. 

Dollar (S). — Originated by Oscar F. Felton, Merchantsville, 
New Jersey; introduced about 1894. Berry large, round-conic, 
light crimson ; flesh medium red, firm, subacid, good ; runners 
moderate. Midseason. Has been the dominant variety in the 
Florin district near Sacramento, California. Shows strong ever- 
bearing tendencies, the young plants often fruiting as soon as 
rooted. Dollar Jr., a seedling of Dollar, introduced about 1900, 
and Dollar No. 2, a selection of Dollar, are not marked depar- 
tures from the type. Distinct from Gold Dollar. 

Early Hathaway (S). {Texas). — Originated 1892 by Louis 
Hubach, Judsonia, Arkansas, Wilson x Hoffman ; introduced 1902. 
Berry medium, round-conic, scarlet; flesh whitish, firm, acid, fair; 

Varieties 301 

runners moderate. Medium early. Ripens a few days after Ex- 
celsior. \'^alued for market in many sections, especially the south 
central states. Has been more widely disseminated as Texas than 
as Early Hathaway. 

Frances Cleveland (P). (Mrs. Cleveland.) — Originated in 1881, 
by Geo. Townsend, Gordon, Ohio, seedling of Cmnberland Triumph ; 
introduced 1885. Berry medium to large, irregular round-conic, 
bright scarlet ; flesh light red, medium firm, good ; runners nu- 
merous. Midseason. Has been planted quite extensively. Dis- 
tinct from Cleveland. 

Fremont Williams (S). — Originated by Louis Hubach, Judsonia, 
Arkansas, Gandy x Bush Cluster; introduced 1904. Berry large, 
round-conic, light crimson ; flesh medium red, firm, subacid, good ; 
runners moderate. As late as Gandy and preferred to that variety 
in some sections. 

Hoffman (S). — Originated about 1884, by Mr. Hoffman, Charles- 
ton, South Carolina, chance seedling, supposed seedling of Neunan ; 
introduced 1887. Berry medium or below, round-conic, dark 
crimson; flesh medium red, firm, acid, fair; runners moderate. 
Early. From 1890 to 1900 was the dominant variety through the 
Southern states. Now supplanted by Klondike. Berries are very 
sour until fully ripe. 

Jessie (S to semi-S). — Originated 1880, by F. W. Loudon, 
Janesville, Wisconsin, Sharpless x Miner's Prolific; introduced 
1886. Berry medium to large, round-conic to irregular wedge-shape, 
crimson ; flesh medium red, firm, subacid, good ; runners few. 
Midseason to late. Requires high culture. Still valued on the 
Pacific coast. 

Joe (S). (Joe Emerson; Emerson's Joe; Joe Johnson.) — Origi- 
nated by J. H. Black, Son & Co., Hightstown, New Jersey; a 
seedUng of Middlefield x Chair's Favorite was crossed with Sharp- 
less, and this with Gandy; introduced 1899. Berry large, round- 
conic, dark crimson; flesh medium red, firm, subacid, good; run- 
ners moderate. Late. Valued under intensive culture. 

Johnson (S). (Johnson's Early.) — Originated in 1893, by O. A. 
Johnson, Manokin, Maryland, supposed Crescent x Hoffman; 
introduced 1898. Berry medium to large, round-conic, sometimes 
irregular and necked, light crimson; flesh light red, medium firm, 
acid, good ; runners numerous. Medium early. One of the largest 
early varieties; valued for home use and market. 

302 Strawberry-Growing 

Kittle Rice (P). (Downing' s Bride; Rice; Downing' s Pride.) — 
Originated about 1890, by J. F. Beaver, Dayton, Ohio ; introduced 
1896. Berry large, round-conic, dark crimson ; flesh medium red, 
firm, brisk subacid, very good; runners moderate. Midseason. 
Valued for market and home use. 

Late Stevens (S to semi-S). (Stevens' Late Champion.) — Originated 
in 1897, by Arthur Stevens, Bridgeton, New Jersey, said to be 
"Bayview" (evidently not introduced) x Cumberland Pride; 
introduced 1903. Berry large, irregular wedge-conic to co.xcombed, 
light crimson ; flesh medium red, medium firm, subacid, good ; 
runners moderate. Late. A close competitor of Gandy in a few 

Longworth (S). (Longworth's Prolific; Schneike's Seedling; 
Schneike's Hermaphrodite.) — Originated 1848, by Mr. Schneike, 
gardener to Nicholas Longworth, Cincinnati, Ohio, being one of 
"thousands of seedlings from the Hovey, Keens' and Taylor's 
seedlings impregnated by Swainstone seedling" (the latter an Eng- 
lish variety); introduced 1851. Berry large, roundish-oval to 
roundish-flattened, light crimson ; flesh medium red, firm, brisk 
subacid, good; runners moderate. Medium early. The oldest 
North American variety now in cultivation. Still a standard sort 
in California. 

Lovett (S). (Lovett's Early.) — Originated in 1885, by J. H. Morris, 
Fairview, Kentucky, chance seedling, supposed Crescent x Wilson; 
introduced 1890. Berry medium to large, round-conic, bright 
crimson ; flesh medium red, firm, acid, good ; runners few. Medium 
early to midseason. Has been a standard variety ; used largely as 
a polhnizer. 

Magoon (S). — Originated by W. J. Magoon, Portland, Oregon, 
chance seedling; introduced 1894. Berry medium to large, ir- 
regular round-conic, dark crimson; flesh dark red, medium firm, 
mild subacid, very good ; runners moderate. Midseason to late. 
The leading variety for home use and near market in western 
Oregon. Too soft for long shipment, and only fair for canning. 
Makes immense stools. Fruit-stems weak. Needs deep, moist 

Margaret (of Beaver) (S). (Marguerite, of some.) — Originated 
1891, by J. F. Beaver, Dayton, Ohio, seedUng of Crawford ; intro- 
duced 1896. Berry large, conic, dark crimson ; flesh medium red, 
firm, mild subacid, very good ; runners moderate. Medium late. 

Varieties 303 

Confused with Marguerite. Highly prized for amateur culture 
and for exhibition ; under high culture it produces very large berries 
of superior quality. 

Mazimus (S). (Corsican; Big Berry; Armstrongs Favorite; Ger- 
man Seedling. ) — Said to have originated in Germany. Berry medium 
to large, irregular round-conic to wedge-shape, light crimson, color 
very variable; flesh light red, medium firm, mild subacid, good; 
runners numerous. Midseason. Strongly resembles the New- 
York group of varieties. 

Michel (S). (Michel's Early; Mitchell's Early; Osceola; Ella; 
Young's Early Sunrise.) — Originated 1883, by Geo. Michel (pro- 
nounced Mike-el), Judsonia, Arkansas, chance seedling, supposed 
to be of Crescent; introduced 1889. Berry medium to small, 
round-conic, sometimes slightly necked, dull scarlet; flesh light 
red, medium firm, acid, fair; runners very numerous. Very early. 
Has been a prominent shipping variety, especially in the South. 
Not productive, and very sour. Now being discarded. 

Missionary (S). — Originated about 1900, by Nathaniel Gohn, 
Deep Creek, Norfolk County, Virginia, chance seedling; in- 
troduced 1906. Berry medium to large, round-conic, dark crimson ; 
flesh dark red, very firm, acid, fair; runners moderate. Early. 
Practically identical with Klondike, but earlier. Rapidly sup- 
planting Klondike in many parts of the South. 

Nettie (P). —Originated in 1893 by J. H. Black, Son & Co., 
Hightstown, New Jersey ; a Bubach x Yale seedling was crossed 
with Sharpless and this with Gandy; introduced 1899. Berry 
large, irregular round-conic to wedge-shape, scarlet; flesh medium 
red, medium firm, brisk subacid, good ; runners moderate. Very 
late, a little after Gandy. Preferred to Gandy in some sections. 

Neunan (S). (Nevnan's Prolific; Charleston Berry; Noonan; 
Nunan; Newman, of some.) — Originated by Mr. Neunan, Charles- 
ton, South Carolina; introduced about 1870. Berry medium, 
roundish to round-conic, light crimson ; flesh medium red, very firm, 
acid, fair ; runners numerous. Early to midseason. The dominant 
commercial variety of the South, for shipping north, 1878-1895 ; 
now mostly supplanted by Klondike and Missionary. 

New York (S). — Originated 1890, by Martha Yates Tanner, 
Slaterville Springs, New York, seedling of Bubach which was open 
to pollination by Jessie; introduced 1898. Berry large, irregular 
wedge-conic, crimson ; flesh medium red, medium firm, mild subacid. 

304 Strawberry-Growing 

good; runners moderate. Midseason. The following varieties, 
most of which seem to be of authentic independent origin, so closely 
resemble New York as to be practicably identical : Hummer, Michi- 
gan Pride (of Kellogg), Morgan, Oswego, Pocahontas, Roosevelt (of 
Cathcoit), Ryckman. Also practically identical with Maximus, 
and its synonyms. 

Nich Ohmer (S). {Nikoma, erroneously.) — Originated by J. F. 
Beaver, Dayton, Ohio, seedUng of Middlefield; introduced 1898. 
Berry large, round-conic, dark crimson; flesh medium red, firm, 
mild subacid, very good; runners few. Midseason. Requires 
high culture. 

Ozark (S). {Early Ozar^.) — Originated 1902, by Chas. Shull, 
Sarcoxie, Missouri, Excelsior x Aroma; introduced 1908. Berry 
medium to large, round-conic, dark crimson; flesh dark red, firm, 
subacid, very good; runners numerous. Very early. A popular 
commercial variety; especially valued for canning. 

Pan-American (S). — Originated in 1898, by Samuel Cooper, 
Delevan, New York, thought to be a runner-sport from Bismarck ; 
introduced 1902. Berry medium, round-conic, obtuse, dull scarlet; 
flesh light red, medium firm, subacid, good ; runners practically 
none. Interesting only as the progenitor of the race of North 
American everbearing varieties. 

Parker Earle (S). — Originated 1886, by James Nimon, Denison, 
Texas, Crescent x T. V. Munson's No. 3, which was an unnamed 
seedling of Miner's Prolific; introduced 1889. Berry large, conic, 
with long neck, dark scarlet ; flesh light red, firm, mild subacid, good ; 
runners few. Medium late. Has been a standard variety in the 
West. Requires rich soil and hill training. 

Parson (S). (Parson's Beauty; Reynolds; Pearson's Beauty.) — 
Originated about 1895, by R. G. Parsons, Parsonsburg, Maryland ; 
chance seedling ; introduced 1899. Berry medium large, irregular- 
conic to wedge-conic, bright crimson; flesh medium red, firm, 
subacid, good; runners numerous. Midseason. Valued in Mary- 
land, Delaware, British Columbia, and several other sections. 
Pocomoke and Gibson (of Michigan) resemble it. 

Progressive (Never-stop) (S). — Originated 1908, by Harlow Rock- 
hiU, Conrad, Iowa, Pan-American x Dunlap; introduced 1912. 
Berry medium, wedge-conic to obtuse-conic, dark crimson; flesh 
dark red, firm, mild subacid, good ; runners moderate. Early. 
An everbearer, and one of the best of its class. 

Varieties 305 

Ridgeway (S). —Originated 1892, by M. H. Ridgeway, Wabash, 
Indiana, Jersey Queen x Parker Earle; introduced 1897. Berry 
medium to large, round-conic to oblong-conic, light crimson; flesh 
medium red, medium firm, mild subacid, good ; runners moderate. 
Midseason to late. Valued in some sections for near market. A 
good pollinizer for late pistillates. 

Royal Sovereign (S). — Originated in England. Berry large, 
round-conic to wedge-shape, bright crimson; flesh medium red, 
firm, brisk subacid, good ; runners moderate. Very early. A 
standard sort in England ; grown to some extent in Canada, espe- 
cially on Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland, and the 
Kootenay district, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. 

Ruby (of Riehl) (S). (Richl.) — Originated 1890, by E. H. Riehl, 
N. Alton, lUinois, chance seedling, supposed to be Crescent x Sharp- 
less; introduced 1895. Berry medium to large, round-conic, ob- 
tuse, dull dark scarlet; flesh dark red, firm, subacid, good; runners 
numerous. Medium late. Valued in many sections, especially 
in Oregon for canning. 

Sample (P). — Originated 1894, by J. D. Gowing, N. Read- 
ing, Massachusetts, chance seedhng in bed of Leader; introduced 
1898. Berry large, round-conic, very regular, dark crimson; 
flesh dark red, firm, subacid, good; runners nmnerous. Me- 
dium late. A standard variety in many places. Commonly pol- 
linated with Aroma, Dunlap and Parson. Snaps off easily in 

Seaford (P). (Lloyd; Lloyd's Favorite.) — Originated 1892, by 
Chas. Wright, near Seaford, Delaware, chance seedling; intro- 
duced 1897. Berry medium to large, irregular wedge-conic, dark 
crimson ; flesh dark red, firm, acid, good ; runners moderate. Mid- 
season. Valued for canning. Hardy. 

Superior (S to semi-S). (Early Superior.) — Originated in Dela- 
ware about 1888 ; introduced about 1890. Berry medium, irregular 
wedge-conic, dark crimson ; flesh medium red, firm, subacid, good ; 
runners numerous. Medium early. Valued in a few localities, 
notably at Bridgeville, Delaware. 

Thompson (S). (Lady Thompson.) — Originated in 1894, by D. A. 
Thompson, Mt. Olive, North Carolina, chance seedling; introduced 
1895. Berry medium, conic, bright scarlet ; flesh fight medium red, 
firm, subacid, good; runners moderate. Early. For some^ears a 
standard variety in the South for shipping to northern markets; 


306 Straivberry-Groiving 

now largely supplanted by Klondike. A heavy producer on poor 
soils, but berries soft and of poor color. 

Triomphe (S). (Triomphe de Gand; Triumph, of some.) — Origi- 
nated in Belgium, probably by M. de Jonghe, Brussels; intro- 
duced here by EUwanger & Barry, Rochester, New York, about 
1855. Berry large, roundish, coxcombed, bright crimson ; flesh 
whitish, firm, mild subacid, very good ; runners moderate. Late. 
This variety and Jucunda are the only foreign sorts that have 
achieved prominence in North America. Valued under intensive 
culture on the Pacific coast. 

Uncle Jim (S). (Donian.) — Originated 1898, by J. F. Dornan, 
Glenn, Michigan, chance seedling; introduced 1902. Berry large, 
irregular round-conic, light crimson ; flesh medium red, medium 
firm, mild subacid, good ; runners moderate. Medium late. Very 
similar to if not identical with New York. 

Williams (of Ontario) (S). {Prince of Orange.) — Originated by 
Mr. Williams, Burford, Ontario, Crescent x Sharpless; introduced 
1890. Berry large, round-conic to wedge-conic, dark crimson, often 
with white tip ; flesh dark red, firm, subacid, good ; runners nu- 
merous. Midseason. Has been a popular commercial variety in 
Canada, especially in southern Ontario. 



Statistics of the 12th and 13th census show a decrease of 
5.5 per cent in the acreage of strawberries between 1900 
and 1910. This decrease, however, is less with strawberries 
than with most other small-fruits, as is shown in the 
following table : 

Decrease in the Acreage of Small-pruits 



Per Cent 


Blackberries and dewberries . 
Raspberries and loganberries . 


















This decrease in strawberry planting was most rapid 
between 1905 and 1910. This contraction followed a num- 
ber of years of heavy and sometimes injudicious planting, 
especially in the South and Mississippi Valley. The reaction, 
however, was not as marked as that which followed the 
boom years of 1865-70. At present the total acreage 
apparently is increasing slightly. The value of the 1909 
strawberry crop, as compared with other fruit crops of that 
year, is reported by the census as follows : 




Value of Different Fruit Crops in 1909 


Trees of 
Bearino Aqe 

Trees Not of 
Bearing Age 

OF Gain 
OR Lobs 

Apples . . 

S83,23 1,492 




Peaches and 






Grapes^ . . 






143,045 acres 


Plums and 






Pears . . . 





Cherries . . 










Quinces . . 




In 1899 the relative rank was apples, strawberries, grapes 
and peaches ; the respective values, in round numbers, were 
sixty, fifteen, fourteen and seven millions. The wonderful 
stride in commercial peach-growing between 1899 and 1909 
apparently has removed the strawberry permanently from 
second place ; now it vies with grapes for third place, some 
years exceeding that fruit in the value of the crop. If the 
value of the fruit produced in gardens were added to the 
value of the commercial product, it is probable that the 
strawberry would rank second to the apple. 

The states having the largest acreage in 1910 were : 

Maryland 14,292 acres 

Tennessee 10,761 acres 

Missouri 9,048 acres 

New Jersey 8,684 acres 

Michigan 8,051 acres 

Arkansas 7,361 acres 

Delaware 7,194 acres 

Virginia 6,606 acres 

1 Does not include wine and raisin grapes. 

Appendix 309 

The counties having the largest acreage in 1910 were : 

Sussex, Del 6,404 acres 

Anne Arundel, Md 3,937 acres 

Tangipahoa, La 3,311 acres 

Somerset, Md 2,859 acres 

Norfolk, Va 2,758 acres 

Wicomico, Md 2,700 acres 

Columbus, N.C 2,548 acres 

Rhea, Tenn 2,399 acres 

The Office of Markets and Rural Organization, United 
States Department of Agriculture, gives the following sum- 
mary : ^ " The eight most important commercial strawberry 
districts in 1914 were as follows, ranked according to carload 
shipments: Central California, 1905 cars ; Tennessee, 1571.5 
cars ; Maryland, 1569.3 cars ; Delaware, 1374 cars ; south- 
ern Louisiana, 1243 cars ; North and South Carolina, 967.3 
cars ; Virginia, 779 cars ; Ozark region, 748 cars." The total 
car-lot movement reported to that office in 1914 was 14,553.2 
cars. To this should be added the large quantity that is 
marketed locally or shipped by express. 

While accurate data are not available, it is probable that 
the 143,045 acres of strawberries grown in the United States 
in 1910 were considerably more than half of the world total. 
The nearest competitor is Great Britain. In 1914 John 
Weathers estimated that the total planting in England was 
21,000 acres. 


The Dominion Census for 1900 did not give the acreage 
or production of strawberries, but gave the total yield of all 
small-fruits, in quarts. The Census of 1910 gave the num- 
ber of "boxes" of strawberries produced that year; also 
the number of boxes of other small-fruits. About sixty per 
cent of all the small-fruits produced in 1910 were straw- 

1 Farmers' Bulletin 237 (1916), p. 4. 



berries. If we assume that the same ratio held in 1900, for 
all Provinces alike, and that a box is the equivalent of a 
quart (it is four-fifths of a quart), the following comparison 
indicates the relative importance of this industry in the 
different Provinces : 

Production of Strawberries in Canada, 1900 and 1910 

British Columbia 


New Brunswick 

Nova Scotia 


Prince Edward Island .... 

(Alberta . . . 
Assiniboia, East 
Saskatchewan . 


414,814 qt 

72,098 qt 

285,030 qt 

605,672 qt 

9,739,221 qt 

90,344 qt 

1,796,170 qt 

12,790 qt 

14,325 qt 

2,848 qt 

1,357 qt 


1,662,789 qt. 

9,941 qt. 

779,301 qt. 

633,458 qt. 

13,094,462 qt. 

186,762 qt. 

2,304,630 qt. 

11,028 qt. 

2,291 qt. 

The Dominion Census does not give the strawberry 
acreage, which is a fairer measure of the importance of the 
industry than the production of a single year. In 1911, 
eight per cent of the combined acreage in vegetable and small- 
fruits was small-fruits, and sixty per cent of the small-fruits 
was strawberries. If we assume that the ratio was the same 
in 1891 and 1901, the steady growth of the industry is re- 
vealed by the following figures : 

Acreage op Strawberries in Canada, 1891, 1901, 1911 


Acreage of 

Vegetables and 


Acreage op 

Acreage op 







Appendix 311 

The average yield of strawberries in the United States, 
according to the Census of 1910, is 1700 quarts an acre. If 
we apply this ratio to the Dominion statistics for 1911, the 
area in strawberries then was 10,992 acres, divided approxi- 
mately as follows : 

Alberta 7 acres 

British Columbia 978 acres 

Manitoba 6 acres 

New Brunswick 458 acres 

Nova Scotia 372 acres 

Ontario 7702 acres 

Prince Edward Island 109 acres 

Quebec 1355 acres 

Saskatchewan 1 acre 

10,992 acres 

The total acreage of strawberries in Canada is about equal 
to that in the state of Tennessee ; it is one-fourteenth of the 
total acreage in the United States. Between 1901 and 1911, 
however, the Canadian acreage doubled ; while in the same 
period that of the United States decreased 5.5 per cent. 


Atlantic states. 

The large acreage in New England, New York and Penn- 
sylvania is not centralized, as in the South and West. The 
market-gardens near Boston, mainly in Middlesex County, 
maintain the standard of intensive culture established there 

1 The acreage figures are quoted mostly from the twelfth and thir- 
teenth census of the United States. The figures of car-lot shipments for 
1914 are from Bulletin 237, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Office of Markets 
and Rural Organization. Acreage and production vary greatly from 
year to year ; the figures are not intended to be an exact statement of 
the comparative importance of the several districts. Many important 
districts market most of the crop locally ; and it cannot be recorded in 
carloads ; hence the census statistics on acreage are the fairest means of 

312 Appendix 

a century ago. The 6382 acres in New York are scattered 
over the state. Each of the leading counties — Erie, Ulster 
and Monroe — has less than 600 acres. Highland and Mil- 
ton, in Ulster County, and Angola in Erie County, lead in 
carload shipments. The 4136 acres in Pennsylvania are 
distributed among many counties. 

The largest centers of production in the East are found in 
the Atlantic coastal plain, from southern New Jersey to 
Florida. New Jersey has grown strawberries for the New 
York market since 1830. This state had 8684 acres in 1910. 
Cumberland, Burlington, Camden and Atlantic counties 
have the largest acreage. Port Norris, Landesville, Moores- 
town, Hammondton and Vineland are the most important 
shipping points. The Delaware-Maryland peninsula is the 
most highly specialized strawberry district in the world. 
In 1910 there were 16,250 acres in a territory about ninety 
miles long and forty miles wide extending from the lower 
part of Kent County, Delaware, to the upper part of Ac- 
comac County, Virginia. In 1914 this district shipped 2599 
cars, or nearly one-sixth of all the carload shipments mar- 
keted in the United States that year. The industry was 
established on the peninsula about 1868. Sussex County, 
Delaware, is the most important shipping county in the 
country ; it had 6404 acres in 1910. In one day, sixty- 
three cars have been shipped from Bridgeville and forty-four 
from Selbyville. Maryland is the premier state in straw- 
berry acreage. About one-half of her 14,292 acres are on 
the eastern shore, or peninsula. On the mainland, Anne 
Arundel County, which has been growing strawberries for 
Baltimore and Philadelphia since 1830, maintains leadership, 
with 3937 acres in 1910. 

The Norfolk District, Virginia, has been prominent in 
strawberry production since 1860. It comprises over 4000 
acres, mainly in Norfolk and Princess Anne counties. The 
1914 movement was 629 cars. The important district in 
North Carolina, centering at Mt. Tabor, Mt. Olive and 

Appendix 313 

Chadbourn, did not begin to ship in quantity until 1890. It 
reached the crest of its development in 1906, when more 
than 3000 cars were marketed. In 1910 the district included 
about 5000 acres, of which 2548 and 966 were in Columbia 
and Duplin counties, respectively. The 1914 movement 
was 838 cars. Between 1871 and 1890, Charleston, South 
Carolina, was a prominent shipping point, but it was forced 
out of the market by the Florida and North Carolina dis- 
tricts. South Carolina has one important district of more 
recent development, in Horry County, centering at Loris 
and Conway. This is an extension southward of the North 
Carolina district. It shipped 128 cars in 1914. 

Florida has shipped small quantities of berries since 1878. 
The acreage in 1910 was 1343, and the 1914 movement was 
530 cars. The chief shipping points in northern Florida 
are Lawtrey and Stark, which marketed 355 cars in 1914. 
Plant City and Lakeland contributed most of the 152 cars 
moved from southern Florida in 1914. This district comprises 
Hillsboro and Polk counties ; it has developed since 1896. 

Mississippi Valley. 

The strawberry industry of Michigan began near Benton 
Harbor and St. Joseph, Berrien County, in 1861. This 
county has maintained prominence in this respect ; 2041 of 
the 8051 acres in the state in 1910 were in Berrien County ; 
it shipped 321 cars in 1914. Van Buren, Wayne and Allegan 
counties each have over 400 acres. 

Between 1900 and 1910 the strawberry industry of Ohio de- 
clined from 9373 acres to 4706 acres. Ohio now grows straw- 
berries solely for its own markets ; only 15 cars were shipped 
in 1914. Cuyahoga County, with 476 acres, has the largest 
area. Southern Illinois has been supplying the Chicago 
market since 1860. The state acreage was reduced from 
7113 in 1900 to 5410 in 1910. Pulaski and Union counties 
lead with 1267 and 573 acres respectively. The movement 
from Ilhnois in 1914 was 268 cars. All but four of these 

314 Appendix 

originated in Pulaski and Union counties, mainly at Anna 
and Villa Ridge. 

Tennessee is second to Maryland in total area in straw- 
berries, with 10,761 acres in 1910. The East Tennessee 
district, comprising Weakley, Gibson, Lauderdale, Crockett 
and several adjacent counties, began to ship about 1870. 
In 1910 there were 4546 acres in the district ; the 1914 out- 
put was 1090 cars. Gibson County leads with 1485 acres. 
The largest shipping points are Humbolt, Sharon and Dyer. 
The East Tennessee or Chattanooga district, comprising 
mainly Hamilton, Rhea and Knox counties, has developed 
since 1880. In 1910 it had 4338 acres, but the acreage has 
declined sharply since then ; the 1914 output was 481 cars. 
The only important shipping point in Kentucky is Bowling 
Green, Warren County, which marketed seventy-five cars in 

The Ozark district, in southwest Missouri and northwest 
Arkansas, has developed since 1890. In 1910 this district 
included 9192 acres which were about equally divided be- 
tween the two states, mainly in Benton, Crawford and 
Washington counties, Arkansas, and in Newton, Lawrence 
and Jasper counties, Missouri. The 1914 output was 748 
cars. The principal shipping points are Monett, Anderson, 
Neosho, Sarcoxie, Logan and Pierce City in Missouri, and 
Johnson, Decatur, Alma, Springdale and Van Buren in 
Arkansas. The Judsonia district in White County, Arkansas, 
comprised 1035 acres in 1910 ; the 1914 output was 471 cars 
of which 252 originated at Judsonia. Several counties in 
southwest Arkansas, notably Sevier, recently have begun to 

There are few other important shipping points in the 
upper Missouri Valley. The large area in Jefferson and St. 
Louis counties, Missouri — 1434 acres in 1910 — is used 
mostly to supply the near market of St. Louis. Doniphan 
County, in northeast Kansas, shipped 104 cars in 1914, 
mainly from Wathena and Troy. A district in southern 

Appendix 315 

Indiana, embracing Clark, Floyd and Washington counties, 
shipped 101 cars in 1914 ; New Albany and Borden are the 
centers of production. Sparta, Monroe County and Bay- 
field, Bayfield County, Wisconsin, shipped about twenty 
cars each in 1914. Minnesota has a considerable straw- 
berry industry in Hennepin County, which supplies the St. 
Paul and Minneapolis markets. Keokuk and Montrose, in 
Lee County, Iowa, shipped eighteen cars in 1914. With 
the exception of Colorado, none of the states westward 
to the Rocky Mountains produces strawberries in quantity. 
Nevada is least hospitable ; her state acreage was reduced 
from fourteen in 1900 to five in 1910. Colorado's planting 
totaled 1326 acres in 1910. Steamboat Springs, Fremont 
County, is the largest shipping point. 

The first carload shipment of Alabama strawberries was 
in 1902, from Castleberry, Conecuh County. This district 
moved 222 cars in 1914, and the Cullman district, in north 
Alabama, 100 cars. There has been much new planting in 
Alabama since 1910, when the acreage was 1167. There are 
no important districts in Georgia except where the East 
Tennessee district dips down into Walker County. The 
chief shipping point in Mississippi is in the Durant district, 
in the central part of the state, which loaded sixty-six 
of the 163 cars credited to the state in 1914. Between 1900 
and 1910 the state acreage decreased from 1382 to 772. 

Independence, Louisiana, began to ship berries to northern 
markets in 1879. All of the large output from this state — 
1243 cars in 1914 — comes from a single parish, or county, 
Tangipahoa. Independence, Hammond and Ponchatoula are 
the largest shipping points. In recent years considerable at- 
tention has been given to strawberries in Texas, particularly 
in the Gulf coast region near Galveston, the counties of 
Smith and Wood in the northeast, and on the lower Rio 
Grande. In 1910 the state had 2161 acres ; 667 were in 
Smith County, which marketed ninety-nine cars in 1914. 
Tyler and Winnsboro are the chief shipping points. The 

316 Appendix 

Gulf coast district, including Galveston and Brazoria coun- 
ties, marketed 115 cars in 1914. Dickinson and Alvin are 
the most prominent points of production. 

Pacific states. 

The earliest commercial culture of the strawberry on the 
Pacific coast was in the vicinity of San Francisco, about 
1865. This district, comprising the counties of Santa Clara 
and Santa Cruz, had 949 acres in 1910 and moved 1532 cars 
in 1914. Watsonville, Gilroy, Sargent, Vega and Alviso 
are the largest shipping points. The Florin district, near 
Sacramento, began to develop about 1885. In 1910 Sacra- 
mento County had 450 acres and the adjacent county of 
Placer 433 acres. The 1914 output was 255 cars. The Los 
Angeles district began to be prominent about 1885. Be- 
tween 1900 and 1910 the acreage at this point increased from 
363 to 1380. 

Hood River, Oregon, was the first point on the Pacific 
coast to ship in car-lots ; the industry began there in 1884. 
In 1910 the acreage was 512 ; the 1914 output was 118 cars. 
Other important shipping points in Oregon are Umatilla 
County, which loaded sixty-three cars at Freewater and 
Milton in 1914, and Multnomah County, which had 400 
acres in 1910. The strawberry industry of Washington is 
hardly fifteen years old. The largest acreage is in the 
Puget Sound district, in the vicinity of Seattle and Tacoma, 
comprising King and Pierce counties and Vashon Island. 
Between 1900 and 1910 the acreage in this district increased 
from 412 to 1297. The movement for 1914 was 182 cars. 
Other important shipping points in Washington are Kenne- 
wick in Benton County, White Salmon in Klickitat County 
and Spokane. 


Commercial strawberry-growing in Canada began in Nova 
Scotia and Ontario about 1865. In 1911, 7702 acres, or two- 

Appendix 317 

thirds of the total strawberry acreage of Canada, was in the 
province of Ontario, mainly in the southern part. The 
counties of Halton, Lincoln, Norfolk, Peel and Winthrop 
have the largest shipping points. There is a considerable 
acreage in the province of Quebec — about 1355 acres in 
1911. It is mainly in the counties of Deux Montagnes, 
Laval and Terrebonne, near the cities of Quebec and Mon- 
treal. British Columbia is the only other province that 
produces strawberries in quantity; in 1911 there were 978 
acres, centering mainly in Nanaimo and New Westminster 
counties, on Puget Sound. Late berries from Nova Scotia 
have been an important factor on the Boston market since 
1865. The 372 acres in this province are mainly in King's 
and Yarmouth. The province of New Brunswick has a 
promising strawberry industry in King's County. 


Accounts with pickers, 167. 

Acreage : counties having the largest 
in 1910, 308; of small fruits, 
decrease in, 307 ; profitable to 
each grower, 211 ; states having 
the largest in 1910, 308. 

Age of plantation as affected by: 
climate, 238 ; method of culture, 
239; method of training, 240; 
cost of renewing, 241 ; variety, 
240 ; of plantation in different 
districts, 236. 

Air drainage, 6. 

Allen, W. F., quoted, 227. 

Alpine, culture of, 254 ; varieties, 

Analysis of fruit, 52. 

Ancylis comptana, 273. 

Anthonomus signatus, 272. 

Ants, 279. 

Aphis forbesi, 275. 

Arizona Experiment Station, 
quoted, 68. 

Ashes, use of, 57. 

Association, Ozark Fruit Growers', 

Associations, federation of, 205 ; 
forwarding, 202 ; pooUng, 203 ; 
sales methods in, 204 ; selling, 
types of, 201. 

Atlantic states, acreage in, 311. 

Bailey, L. H., quoted, 61. 
Barrels, strawberry, 265. 
Barring off the rows, 244. 
Baskets, 152. 
Beatty, F. E., quoted, 35, 46, 57, 

162, 229. 
Bedding the land, 20 ; methods of, 

97 ; summer, 234 ; when to 

begin, 96. 

Berries, washing, 177. 

Birds, 279. 

Blacknall, O. W., quoted, 282. 

Blossoms, cutting, 43 ; essential 
organs of, 126 ; removing from 
ever bearers, 249 ; types of, 126. 

Box, American Standard, 140 ; 
cubic contents, 141 ; dimensions, 
143 ; Hallock, 139 ; laws regulat- 
ing, 142; Leslie, 140; making, 
146 ; material, 138 ; paper, 139 ; 
prices, 143 ; shape and ventila- 
tion, 139. 

British Columbia, cost of produc- 
tion in, 214. 

Broadcast training, 88. 

Budd, J. L., quoted, 135. 

Bureau of Plant Industry, quoted, 

Burning the vines, 242. 

Burns, W., quoted, 105. 

By-products, 207. 

Cabbage between strawberries, 50. 

California, cost of production in, 
222 ; spacing plants in, 32 ; time 
of planting in, 24. 

Canada, acreage in, 310; local 
centers of production, 316; pro- 
duction in 1900 and 1910, 309. 

Canning, 207. 

Carload shipments from different 
districts, 1914, 309. 

Cars, loading, 188. 

Carrier, overhead, 162. 

Carriers, picking, 161. 

Chandler, W. H., quoted, 59, 66. 

Checks, pickers, 167. 

Chests, California, 151. 

Climate, influence on training, 88. 

Close, C. P., quoted, 75. 




Colapsis, 277. 

Cold storage, 192. 

Commission men, 199. 

Companion crops, 49. 

Cooling rooms, 180. 

Cooperative marketing, 201. 

Corn between strawberries, 49. 

Corn fodder for mulching, 112. 

Cost of production, factors that 
influence, 210; in different dis- 
tricts, 214; yields, profits, in: 
214; British Columbia, 214; 
New York, 214 ; New Jersey, 
215 ; Michigan, 215 ; Tennessee, 
216 ; Missouri and Arkansas, 
217; Florida and the Gulf 
states, 219; Texas, 221; Col- 
orado, 221 ; Washington, 222 ; 
Oregon, 222 ; California, 222. 

Cowpeas in rotation with straw- 
berries, 48. 

Crates, making, 148 ; nailing and 
stenciling, 181 ; prices, 146 ; 
return, 144 ; size, 145. 

Crab-grass, 73; as a mulch, 117. 

Crawford, Matthew, quoted, 47, 
134 ; referred to, 286. 

Crickets, 279. 

Crop, certainty of, 212. 

Crown Borer, 276. 

Crown Girdler, 277. 

Crown Moth, 278. 

Cultivating, 72. 

Cultivators, types of, 69. 

"Culture, The New Strawberry," 

Cuttings, 234. 

Cut Worms, 279. 

Dammer, U., quoted, 103. 

Delaware-Maryland peninsula, acre- 
age in, 312. 

Delaware, soils of, 11. 

Dibber, setting with, 39 ; types of, 

Diseases and their control, 270. 

Distance between bedded plants, 

Districts, strawberry, 2. 

Double cropping, 255. 
Drainage, air, 6 ; methods of, 17 ; 
soil, 7, 16. 

Earle, F. S., quoted, 156, 188, 

Empria, 277. 
Euthrips tritici, 278. 
Everbearers, commercial value, 

252 ; culture, 249 ; harvesting 

and marketing, 250. 
Evergreens for mulching, 115. 
Exhibition, growing berries for, 

263 ; preserving berries for, 265. 
Exposure, in selecting a site, 7. 
Express shipments, 186. 

Facing, 178. 

Fall crops, 255. 

Fall thinning of matted row, 101. 

Fancy berries, methods of culture, 

Farmer, L. J., quoted, 62, 67, 214. 

Farming, type of, as affecting 
locations, 5. 

Farnsworth, W. W., quoted, 46. 

Fertility, soil, 15. 

Fertilizers, methods of distributing, 
59 ; results of experiments with, 
53 ; when to apply, 58. 

Fertilizing, according to variety, 
54 ; current practice, 61 ; by 
chemical analyses, 53 ; forced 
plants, 262 ; in Canada and 
northern United States, 61 ; in 
Middle Atlantic states, 62 ; in 
South Atlantic states, 63 ; in 
Southern states, 63 ; with ni- 
trate in spring, 58. 

Fillers, strawberries between fruit- 
trees, 51 ; vegetables between 
strawberries, 49. 

Flea Beetle, 278. 

Florida, acreage in, 313 ; cost of 
production in, 219; soils of, 11; 
spacing plants in, 32. 

Forced plants, fertilizing, 262. 

Forcing crowns, care in coldframe, 



Forcing, in greenhouse benches, 
256 ; in pots, 258 ; period, 
length of, 260 ; temperature 
for, 260; varieties, 263. 

Freezing prevented by mulching, 

Frost injury, conditions that favor, 

Frost protection, 280. 

Fruit crops, value of, in 1909, 308. 

Fruit-trees, strawberries between, 

Fuller, A. S., quoted, 134. 

Fulton, S. H., quoted, 193. 

Galusha, O. B., quoted, 229. 

Goff, E. S., quoted, 67. 

Grade, maintaining the, 164. 

Grades, 176. 

Grading, 173; field, 174; frames, 

177; machines, 176 ; scoop, 177; 

shed, 175. 
Grant, W. C., quoted, 157. 
Green, W. J., quoted, 130. 
Greenhouse, forcing, 256. 
Green-manuring, 45, 55. 
Ground Beetle, 277. 
Ground, "new," advantages of, 


Hall, H. F., quoted, 98. 

Haltica ignita, 278. 

Hand setting, 37. 

Harpalus caliginosus, 2,11 . 

Harrowing, 19. 

Heating for frost protection, 283. 

Heaving prevented by mulching, 

Hedge-row, renewing, 246. 

Hedge-rows, runner control in, 102 ; 
training, 85, 95. 

Hedrick, U. P., quoted, 131. 

Heeling-in plants, 27. 

Hills, renewing, 246 ; runner con- 
trol in, 102; training, 84, 91. 

Hoe, setting with, 40. 

Hoes, hand, 70 ; wheel, 70. 

Hofer, E., quoted, 290. 

Howard, W. L., quoted, 52. 

Insects, aid to pollination, 137 ; 
control, 272. 

Irrigation, ditches and flumes, 
78 ; frequency of, 79 ; furrow 
system, 77 ; grade necessary, 
76 ; in arid regions, 76 ; in 
humid regions, 80 ; overhead 
pipe method, 82 ; types of, 76. 

Jerolamen, Henry, quoted, 224. 

Kellogg, R. M., quoted, 185. 
"Kevitt System," 68, 92. 
Kevitt, T. C., quoted, 92, 223. 

Labor as affecting locations, 6. 

Lachnosterna, 274. 

Land, bedding and ridging, 20 ; 

fitting, 19 ; flat, advantages of, 

8 ; marking out, 33 ; plowing, 

Lapham, J. S., quoted, 194. 
Leaf Blight, 270. 
Leaf RoUer, 273. 
Leaf Spot, 270. 
Leaves for mulching, 114. 
Liming, 57. 

Line, marking out with, 33. 
List, W. H., quoted, 216. 
Loading cars, 118. 
Locations, 1 ; as affected by labor, 

6 ; as affected by markets, 3 ; 

as affected by transportation 

facilities, 5 ; as affected by type 

of farming, 5. 
Longworth, Nicholas, quoted, 128. 
Lygus pratensis, 278. 

Machines, planting, 40. 

McCue, C. A., quoted, 47. 

McNallie, C., quoted, 217; J. F., 
quoted, 216. 

Manure for mulching. 111. 

Manures, advantages of, 55 ; com- 
position of, 55 ; application, 56. 

Marker, peg, 34 ; sled, 34 ; wheel, 34. 

Market, general or wholesale, 3 ; 
local or personal, 3 ; procession 
of shipping districts in, 195 ; 



reports, 206 ; retail, advantages 
of, 183 ; retail, methods in, 184 
two types of, 182 ; wholesale 
methods of selling in, 198 
wholesale, transportation to, 186 

Marketing, by consignment, 198 
changes in methods since 1840, 
182 ; cooperative, 201 ; coopera- 
tive, essentials to successful, 
203; f. o. b. sales, 200. 

Marking out, 33. 

Maryland Experiment Station, 
quoted, 118. 

Matted row, controlling width of, 
99 ; renewing, 244 ; spacing 
plants in, 100 ; training, 87, 93. 

Michigan, cost of production in, 

Mildew, Powdery, 271. 

Mississippi Valley, acreage in, 313. 

Missouri, cost of production in, 216 ; 
Experiment Station, quoted, 54. 

Mowing the vines, 242. 

Mulch, crab-grass in the South, 
117; crop, growing, 113; fruit- 
ing, materials used, 122 ; fruit- 
ing, when needed, 122 ; growing 
in the strawberry field, 116 
materials, 111; winter, 108 
winter, how much to use, 119 
winter, when to apply, 118 
winter, when to remove, 121. 

Mulches of wild herbage, 114. 

Mulching, as substitute for tillage, 
68 ; for frost protection, 281 ; 
history of, 107 ; in the South, 
248 ; purposes of, 107 ; to pre- 
vent freezing, 109 ; to prevent 
heating, 108; to retard ripening, 
110; with ice, 121. 

New Hampshire, Experiment Sta- 
tion, quoted, 61 ; fertilizing in, 

New Jersey, cost of production 
in, 215 ; Experiment Station, 
quoted, 59, 80, 215. 

New York, (Cornell) Experiment 
Station, quoted, 54 ; cost of 

production in, 214 ; State Ex- 
periment Station, quoted, 94. 

Nitrate of soda, use of, 59. 

Norfolk district, acreage in, 312 ; 
method of training in, 93. 

North, rotations in, 45 ; time of 
planting in, 22. 

Novelties, testing, 285. 

Nubbins, cause of, 137. 

Nursery methods, 226. 

Ohmer, J. P., quoted, 265. 
Ontario, cost of production in, 214. 
Outlook for strawberry growing, 

Overproduction, 212. 
Ozark district, acreage in, 314. 
Ozark Fruit Growers' Association, 


Pacific states, acreage in, 316 ; cost 
of production in, 221. 

Packages, 138 ; special, 149. 

Packing, 178 ; piece,179 ; sheds, 173. 

"Pedigree" plants, 232. 

Pennsylvania Experiment Station, 
quoted, 94. 

Perrine, G. L., quoted, 99. 

Persels, C. E., quoted, 241. 

Pickers, accounts with, 167 ; best 
types of, 163 ; handling, 165 ; 
management in the field, 166 ; 
number required, 163 ; pro- 
fessional, 164. 

Picking, care necessary, 160; 
carriers, 161; how often, 158; 
how ripe berries should be picked, 
156 ; on Sunday, 158 ; prices 
for, 171 ; receptacles, 161 ; sea- 
son, as affected by age of plant, 
155; season, length of, 154; 
time of day, 159. 

Pine-needles for mulching, 123. 

Pistillate blossoms, 127; varieties, 
advantages and disadvantages of, 
138 ; disappearing, 131 ; heavy 
yield of, 128. 

Plant-food in strawberries, 51 ; 
withdrawn from the soil, 52. 



Planting, 18 ; care after, 42 ; 
depth of, 37 ; essentials to suc- 
cess in, 36 ; time of, 21 ; fall, 
in the North, 22; firm, 30; 
machines, 40 ; methods of, 37 ; 
in different regions, 22 ; tray, 
36 ; under irrigation, 40. 

Plants, age for setting, 231 ; alley 
for setting, 232 ; carrying over 
the summer, 247 ; digging, pack- 
ing, shipping, 229 ; distance 
between bedded, 98 ; heeling- 
in, 27 ; home-grown, 25, 227 
number required to the acre, 26 
ordering from a nursery, 25 
"pedigree," 232; potted, 233 
preparing for setting, 26 ; quality 
in, 231 ; shipping, 26 ; spacing in 
row, 29 ; specific examples of 
spacing, 31 ; thinning in matted 
rows, 245 ; trimming before 
setting, 29. 

Plow for marking out, 33. 

Plowing, depth of, 19 ; time of, 18. 

Pollen, immediate influence of, 134. 

Pollination, 126 ; and the weather, 
137 ; insects an aid to, 137 ; 
of forced plants, 261. 

PoUinizer, desirable points in, 133 ; 
distributing the, 135 ; selecting 
the, 132. 

Potatoes between strawberries, 49. 

Potted plants, value of, 233 ; 
setting, 41. 

Powers, Stephen, quoted, 219. 

Pre-cooling, methods, 191. 

Preserves and sirups, 208. 

Prices in different districts, 214 ; 
lower, 224. 

Production, local centers of, 311. 

Propagating from fruiting bed, 228. 

Propagation, 226 ; by division, 
236 ; by runners, 226 ; by seeds, 
235 ; feat in, 229. 

Pruning, summer, 105. 

Refrigerator cars, 189 ; construc- 
tion of , 190; icing, 190. 
Refrigerators, 150. 

Renewal, methods of, 242. 

Renewing, cost of, 246 ; hills and 
hedge-rows, 246 ; matted rows, 

Ridging, 20, 72. 

Root-louse, 275. 

Root Rot, 272. 

Root system, 67. 

Root worms, 277. 

Roots, methods of protecting, 36. 

Rose bug, 279. 

Rotations, in different regions, 45 ; 
necessity for, 44. 

Rows, distance between, 30 ; lay- 
ing off, 35 ; spacing plants in, 

Runner cutters, 100, 103 ; propaga- 
tion, 226. 

Runners, bedding, 95 ; from the 
fruiting bed, 228 ; increase in 
different varieties, 228 ; layer- 
ing for forcing, 258 ; pinching 
and cutting, 103 ; removing 
surplus, 99. 

Rust, or leaf-blight, 270. 

Screens for frost protection, 282. 
Season, influence of weather on, 

194; lengthening the, 154, 193; 

retarded by mulching, 110; of 

different districts, 197. 
Sea-weed, for mulching, 115. 
Seed propagation, 235. 
Self-sterility of varieties, 134. 
Sesia rufilans, 278. 
Setter's tray, 36. 
Setting, firm, 36; methods, 37; 

preparing plants for, 26 ; under 

irrigation, 40. 
Shade after setting, 42. 
Shavings for mulching, 115. 
Sherman, W. A., quoted, 197. 
Shipping seasons of different dis- 
tricts, 197. 
Sites, as determined by air drainage, 

6 ; as determined by exposure, 7 ; 

as determined by water drainage, 

7 ; early and late, 7 ; flat, 8 ; 

steep, 7. 



Slugs, 277. 

Smudging for frost protection, 

Snails, 279. 

Soil, drainage, 16 ; fertility, 15 ; 
as a mulch, 116; ideal straw- 
berry, 10 ; preferences in dif- 
ferent regions, 1 1 ; qualities of 
good strawberry, 12; "straw- 
berry sick," 44; texture and 
water-holding power, 13 ; acid, 
57 ; muck and peat, 14 ; sandy 
and gravelly, 13 ; virgin, 16. 

South, rotations in, 47 ; time of 
planting in, 23. 

Spaced rows, runner control in, 102 ; 
training, 86, 95. 

Spacing plants in matted row, 100 ; 
specific examples of, 31. 

Spade setting, 38. 

Sphaerella fragarioe, 270. 

SphcBrotheca humili, 271. 

Spraying, equipment and materials, 

Sprays, preparation of, 269. 

Sprinkling for frost protection, 

Staminate blossoms, 127. 

Stand, picker's, 161. 

Statistics on acreage, production 
and value, 307. 

Storage of fresh berries, 192. 

Straw as a mulch, 112. 

Sturtevant, E. L., quoted, 66. 

Summer pruning, 105. 

Tarnished Plant Bug, 278. 

Tennessee, acreage in, 314 ; cost 
of production in, 216; Experi- 
ment Station, quoted, 54 ; 
fertilizer experiments in, 54. 

Texas, cost of production in, 221. 

Thayer, M. A., quoted, 168. 

Thinning plants in matted row, 

Thompson, Robert, quoted, 214. 

Thrips, 278. 

Tice, F. G., quoted, 97. 

Tickets, pickers', 169. 

Tillage, after irrigation, 79 ; depth 
of, 71 ; during blossoming season, 
75 ; during picking season, 76 ; 
early spring, 74 ; hand, tools for, 
69 ; horse, tools for, 69 ; how 
frequent, 71 ; late autumn, 73 ; 
laying off field to facilitate, 68 ; 
tools, 68 ; why essential, 66. 

Tomatoes between strawberries, 

Tools, tillage, 68. 

Top-dressing with fertilizers, 60. 

Topping, 173. 

Training, as determined by climate, 
88 ; as determined by method of 
culture, 91 ; as determined by 
variety, 90 ; broadcast, 88 ; 
hedge-row, 85, 95; hUl, 84; 
matted row, 87, 93 ; methods of, 
defined, 84 ; Norfolk method, 
93 ; spaced row, 86, 95. 

Transplanters, 40. 

Transportation facilities, 5. 

Trays, 152. 

"Tree" strawberries, 236. 

Tufts, Elmer G., quoted, 184. 

Turpin, G. T., quoted, 291. 

Tusser, Thomas, quoted, 281. 

Tyloderema fragaricB, 276. 

Typophorus, 111 . 

U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, quoted, 
139, 193. 

Value of fruit crops in 1909, 308. 

Van Slyke, L. L., quoted, 51, 52. 

Varieties, as affected by climate and 
soil, 287; canning, 290. 

Varieties, descriptions of Annie 
Hubach, 299; Arizona, 299; 
Aroma, 292 ; August Luther, 
299; Australian, 299; Beder 
Wood, 299; Brandywine, 292; 
Bubach, 292 ; Captain Jack, 
300; Carrie, 300; Chesapeake, 
300; Clark, 293; Climax, 300; 
Clyde, 300; Crescent, 293; 
Dollar, 300 ; Dunlap, 293 ; Early 
Hathaway, 300; Excelsior, 294; 



Frances Cleveland, 301 ; Fre- 
mont Williams, 301 ; Gandy, 
294; Glen Mary, 295; Haver- 
land, 295 ; Hoffman, 301 ; Jessie, 
301; Joe, 301; Johnson, 301; 
Jucunda, 296 ; Kittie Rice, 302 ; 
Klondike, 296 ; Late Stevens, 
302; Longworth, 302; Lovett, 
302; Magoon, 302; Margaret, 
302; Marshall, 296; Maximus, 
303; Michel, 303; Missionary, 
303; Nettie, 303; Neunan, 
303; New York, 303; Nich 
Ohmer, 304; Ozark, 304; Pan- 
American, 304 ; Parker Earle, 
304 ; Parson, 304 ; Progressive, 
304; Ridgeway, 305; Royal 
Sovereign, 305; Ruby, 305; 
Sample, 305; Seaford, 305; 
Sharpless, 297; Superior, 305; 
Uncle Jim, 305 ; Thompson, 306 ; 
Triomphe, 306; Warfield, 297; 
William Belt, 298; Williams, 
306; Wilson, 298. 
Varieties, everbearing, origin of, 
249; forcing, 263; for different 
purposes, 288 ; how many to 
grow, 290; "mating" of, 133; 
pistillate, yield of, 128 ; plant- 
making ability of, 29 ; prefer- 
ences of the market, 289 ; 
runner increase in, 228 ; select- 

ing, 287 ; self-sterile, 134 ; train- 
ing of different, 90. 

Ventilator cars, 187. 

Vinegar, strawberry, 209. 

Voorhees, E. B., quoted, 62. 

Warren, S. H., quoted, 232. 
Washing berries, 177. 
Water drainage, 7. 
Water transportation, 191. 
Watering after setting, 42. 
Weather, influence on pollination, 

Weeds affecting the strawberry 

field, 67. 
WeevU, 272. 

Welch, C. B., quoted, 215. 
Wheeler, Wilfrid, quoted, 62. 
White Grub, 274. 
Wind, protection from, 9. 
Wire, marking out with, 33. 
Wisconsin Experiment Station, 

quoted, 80. 

Yield, as affected by distance 
between plants, 98 ; average to 
the acre, 213; from matted 
rows and hills, 94 ; in different 
districts, 214 ; in market gardens, 
223 ; of plants of different ages, 
240 ; on light and heavy soils, 

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